YouTube last month confirmed it was demonetizing videos about the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic, citing its policies around “sensitive topics.”
The epidemic is one of the most prominent events of this generation but YouTubers can risk losing their livelihoods if they talk about it.
This way, YouTube can say it’s doing its best not to spread panic and misinformation. The only ones hurt by the demonetization of coronavirus-related content are independent creators, including those acting in good faith, who won’t be able to talk about one of the biggest global topics of the day if they want to keep their YouTube revenue.
But on Saturday, YouTube Creators Twitter account made a post that could indicate the platform is reconsidering coronavirus demonetization.
Creators, we hear your feedback around demonetizing videos on COVID-19. We know you have a lot to contribute to the global conversation, so we’re taking a close look at our policies. More to come. https://t.co/cMcNcf29co
— YouTube Creators at 🏠 (@ytcreators) March 7, 2020
In YouTube’s words, the company is hearing the feedback it receives from creators on this subject and is now “taking a close look” at YouTube policies – as it is aware creators “have a lot to contribute to the global conversation.”
Reacting to the post, some Twitter users urged YouTube to continue demonetizing coronavirus videos and in that way thwart creators who are looking to get views and make money by covering the topic. (But to be fair – if that behavior in itself was a YouTube offense, there would be no YouTube today.)
Wouldn’t it be great to review videos on a case by case basis, another Twitter user asked, and said their own video about the way the outbreak of the virus was changing life in Taiwan got demonetized although it was neither controversial nor misleading.
Another had a novel idea: how about YouTube demonetizing itself since it was unjustly punishing creators?
If possible please demonetize yourself since you appear to be punishing many content creators for speaking truth about their thoughts/feelings on public outbreak of illness. Not saying panic is needed, but you are swiftly punitively acting…wrongly
— Earachemoultron (@ericmoultron) March 7, 2020
The trick here, of course, is that the only ones who can demonetize YouTube are creators themselves, by taking their content to another platform.
Meanwhile, YouTube Creators’ tweet about “taking a close look” at the giant’s policies referenced YouTube’s main Twitter account saying earlier that in view of “the rapidly updating news and education on COVID-19” the company was reviewing its monetization policies “around videos that discuss the virus.”
In a series of tweets, YouTube said its aim was to help people “stay safe, informed and connected.”
YouTube also said it would raise “authoritative” sources in search and recommendations and direct users toward authoritative government sources, while videos and searches on the topic of coronavirus now have information panels attached to them “driving to government sources.”