2. The History of Monetization, Demonetization and How it Changed Youtube | Kat Blaque

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if you do, I’d love to know what you’re watching. Anyways, let’s get onto our regularly scheduled
programming. [Music] Youtube has been the gold standard video sharing
platform since it started in 2005 it’s been a part of my life since then and for the longest
time it was an easy way for me to connect with people all around the world. I started as a lonely kid in their bedroom
with no clue where my future would go, but through my years of not only documenting my
own life but watching others live out theirs, I discovered my path and that path just happened
to include me going from youtube hobbyist to full time youtube creator. Youtube strength has always been that it allows
everyone to speak regardless of their status, talent, or access. Everyone with a camera can press record, upload,
and potentially broadcast their lives to the world. Through Youtube, I was able to see the effects
of hormones before ever taking an estrogen pill and I was able to understand the complications
of transitioning and employment before ever filing my name change paperwork. Being able to do this helps me understand
that I could live and thrive in this society and today I largely stay on youtube so that
I can communicate to younger Trans Queer and questioning people that they can do the same
and I’m not alone. People in the LGBT community have long used
youtube as a way to connect with each other as a way of helping each other exist in a
world that’s often been antagonistic towards those of us who may be a little different. For years, I struggled finding employment
that was understanding of my transness. I remember being a teenager and walking
into a store looking just like this and filling out an application with the name that my parents
gave me and hearing laughter on my way out. After dropping off my application. When I
decided to make youtube my actual job, I was able to earn an income and I no longer had
to worry about weird incongruencies with my paperwork and my identity. I just had to upload content that I loved
and suddenly I was making a living and I wasn’t the only one. “LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!” Youtube opened up monetization to certain
particularly successful creators in 2007 when they released the Youtube partnership program. But back then, youtube still hadn’t proven
to advertisers that it was a viable platform. By 2009 individual videos could be monetized
and this would drive people to want to create content that would go viral. This would change the vibe of youtube since
its creation. Youtube had been a relatively laid back platform
of hobbyist who created content that they wanted for their small, often dedicated followers. But with the possibility of earning an income
from a viral video, people started to take video creation a bit more seriously. Youtube videos shifted from lonely teenagers
speaking directly to their cameras, to these highly produced videos that were designed
to make money. In my opinion, this would be the foundation
of a lot of the changes that we saw on youtube. Youtube became a job for many creators and
that meant that the soul was sucked out of their content and taken by larger companies
seeking to capitalize on the growing popularity of the platform. “Did you see this?It was on Youtube!” “Saw it!” And with time, youtube
was becoming more and more popular and eventually monetization was opened to everyone. While this was amazing for those of us who
wanted youtube to be our full time job, it also presented a complication for Youtube. By 2012 youtube was so popular that for every
second of the day, 72 hours of video were uploaded. Obviously Youtube would have a hard time keeping
track of every single video. While monetization was open for everyone,
they still had certain rules and requirements for monetizing content. You couldn’t monetize every single type of
video, and while Youtube has always communicated this, they haven’t always done it in the best
way. It often felt like the small print on the
bottom of a contract. Most people never read it. So for years people were able to upload videos
that technically violated the rules, but they were never punished. The openness of the platform coupled with
the ability for everyone to monetize their content meant that at times unsavory and terrifying
material was uploaded to youtube. Youtube started to discover the terrorist
organizations like Isis were using their platform to recruit members and sexually explicit content
created concerns about the miners who use the platform. So in 2012 youtube started using an algorithm
that would demonetize content, that they felt violated their rules and content that wasn’t
advertiser friendly. However, this was incredibly subtle and most
youtubers wouldn’t even notice that their content was demonetized because youtube
didn’t do a great job of notifying creators that it was, and they probably would only
notice it if they were checking their analytics. In the February of 2017 advertisers in the
United Kingdom discovered that their ads were running against videos posted by extremists
and terrorist organizations, including videos by former American politician and Grand wizard
of the KKK, David Duke. the British Goverment,and several major advertisers withdrew theiradvertising from the platform. This caused Google stock to drop and ultimately
impacted their bottom line. Other advertisers followed suit and this led
to youtube having to change their partnership program and rethink how they were monetizing
content on youtube. They wanted to improve the algorithm and catch
content that wasn’t advertiser friendly. And hire more people to manually review
questionable material. They also released new monetization guidelines
and try to more clearly communicate what sort of content could be monetized. You couldn’t monetize your content if it included
sexually suggestive content, including partial nudity or sexual humor, violence including
displays of serious injury and events related to violence, extremism, inappropriate language
including harassment, swearing in vulgar language, promotion of drugs in regulated substances
including the selling, use and abuse of such items, controversial or sensitive subjects
and events including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and
tragedies. Even if graphic imagery is not shown. it’s important to enforce that there are two types of contracts that you
signed when you upload content to youtube and you want to monetize it. When you upload content to Youtube, you agree
to abide by their rules and codes of conduct. The rules that I just mentioned are a separate
set of rules for monetization. For the most part, content that violates monetization
policies still remains on youtube. While many of these rules had already been
on the books, Google started to actually enforce them and several creators lost monetization
on the type of content that they were able to post for years without punishment. We called this the adpocalypse. “What a fucking n****r” Not knowing about youtubes,
current issues with monetization. Some people blame the apocalypse on Pewdiepie. Shortly before this happened, he released
a video where he hired two impoverished individuals from fiver to write a sign that said death
to all Jews. The Wall Street Journal would report that
the most popular man on youtube not only engaged in antisemitism, but had done so repeatedly
in the past. This resulted in him losing his affiliation
with Disney’s maker studios and his access to Google’s preferred advertising platform. While Pewdiepie would later qualify that this
was a joke, take it out of context. The damage had already been done. This would start a larger debate about whether
or not Pewdiepie should have been punished for making jokes of that nature and whether
or not these new policies were effectively censoring people. Even if people may disagree with Pewdiepie’s joke,
does removing its content violate his freedom of speech? But I suppose the question is when it comes
to youtube, what defined censorship and freedom of speech? Well, freedom of speech on platforms like
Youtube is complicated. Some people will argue that content being removed
from youtube isn’t a violation of freedom of speech in the truest sense since in the
United States, our constitutional right to freedom of speech deals with the government. Freedom of speech in the states exist as a
way to allow citizens a right to speak freely against the government without being punished. Some people argue that youtube isn’t beholden
to freedom of speech in the same way as a private company. However, while Youtube started as an American
company, it’s also an international website and thus deals with various ideas of what
freedom of speech actually is. So it becomes more and more of an abstract
concept. The same with censorship. There’s content available here in the states
that is completely blocked in other countries, and the United States has laxer laws when
it comes to freedom of speech. In all reality when it comes to freedom of
speech and censorship, it’s a bit more complex than most realize. I’ll be honest, I have a very different view
of this than I feel most people do. As someone who’s been publishing content to youtube
for years without payment, I have a hard time sympathizing with people who complain about
demonetization no matter what side they’re on. It’s not that I don’t understand the pain
that you feel when you work hard on a video and it suddenly gets to monetized. I do, but I think often this frustration comes
from a misunderstanding of the nature of monetization on Youtube. Creators upload their content to Youtube and
after they qualify for monetization, advertisements can be run on their videos. When people click on those advertisements,
advertisers pay youtube and Youtube gives creators a portion of that money. That is the nature of monetization. Though many view monetization as payment for
the completion and or success of a video. In reality, Youtube gives creators the ability
to host high quality content on their website without an upfront cost to the creator, which
is not common on a media hosting website. Demonetization is truly about maintaining
a positive relationship between the advertisers and Youtube. Most content that is demonetized is not removed
from youtube to monetize video is more often than not remain on youtube, so it’s hard for
me to really buy into the idea that people are effectively censored or their right to
freedom of speech is now somehow violated. Freedom of speech is not about the freedom
to payment for your speech, in a free market an advertiser is completely within their
right to withdraw their ads from content that they feel may not reflect the values of their
company. While, I think it’s worthwhile to debate those
values and I think the demonetization can discourage creators from making certain types
of content, across ideological lines. I don’t see demonetization as either a violation
of freedom of speech or censorship. Personally, my reaction to the ad pocalypse
was different from most. In 2017 I was at the top of my career and
saw youtube is more of a portfolio for the things that I wanted to do beyond the website. What I think most people don’t understand
is just because someone’s content is the demonetized on youtube doesn’t mean that they aren’t making
money from the content they post. With websites like Patreon, merchandise, public appearances and various ways for fans to privately fund their favorite creators. Most fulltime creators don’t use Google adsense
as their main source of income and it definitely isn’t their largest. I’ve personally never made a ton of money
on Google Adsense, but I’ve been able to turn my youtube channel into a way for me to make
money elsewhere! and to me that’s just smart business. If this is what you want to do full time,
considering YouTube’s monetization guidelines should be part of your plan. When you upload content to youtube, you effectively
agree to the rules that they’ve outlined for posting content on their website. If you want some monetize your content, you
have to work within the narrow parameters youtube requires to enable monetization on
your content. For some people, those parameters may be limiting,
but I personally don’t think the best content is made when the only incentive for making
it is money, and to me that’s been part of the problem. Monetization has encouraged people to create
content that gets clicks and historically youtube has rewarded controversial content. It’s encouraged people to push the line and
to be as shocking as they possibly can in order to get people to click on their channel. People will do almost anything to go viral
and make it big. Monetization is the reason why Pewdie pie
would pay poor men to hold up antisemitic signage and why someone like Logan Paul would
show a dead body In one of his videos, controversy gets clicks, In the June of 2017 Youtube’s Blog reported that the company would be taking specific
steps to prevent terrorism and extremism from spreading on their website. They announced that while they’d been using
machine learning to quickly identify this content, they were making a commitment to
hiring actual people to manually review and identify this content through the trusted
flagger program. Youtube also expressed several direct methods
that they’d be taking to counteract terrorist content specifically, They developed the redirect
method, a program that targets ad words who specifically tag content created to radicalize
and recruit isis members that redirects content containing those ad-words to content debunking
terrorist themes. While this method focused on Isis, it was
expressed that it could be used for other situations. They also announced that they’d be using interstitials
before inflammatory religious or supremacist content. In the blog, they expressed a willingness
to share their technology with other social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, and
Microsoft. However, while this seemed like a step in
the right direction, some creators were caught in the crossfire. In 2017, several LGBT creators discovered
that their videos were being hidden by a feature on youtube called restricted mode. A few days ago I found out that youtube has
created this age restricted mode that basically censors any kind of LGBT related content. This is regardless of age appropriateness
or audience. Um, it could be the most kid friendly, young
adult, young kid oriented content. And if it has the word gay or lesbian or LGBT
in the title, it’s going to be removed from restricted mode. While restricted mode has existed since 2010
in 2017 LGBT creators also reported that their content was being demonetized because of their
gender or sexuality. So I uploaded a video that was just titled
Lesbian, another one that was titled Gay another one titled Bisexual, transgender and
straight. And there you have it, you guys, Youtube says
it doesn’t discriminate, but as you can see, lesbian not suitable for advertisers, gay,
not suitable for advertisers. Transgender, not suitable for advertisers
bisexual, not suitable for advertisers and straight. What do you know? Monetized! I first started noticing cause like I was
like a monetize and I always see like a steady income. He wasn’t alive, but at least you know it
could pay likes towards them. Adobe creative pro subscription that I
would buy and like be renting every month. So it will go towards that or I could pay
towards some of my bills. And then I started slowly going down and down
and down to the point where I couldn’t even afford like a Dunkin donuts medium sized coffee. While restricted mode is optional and use
mostly it institutions like schools and libraries where children have access to the Internet. Many creators took offense to the fact that
youtube was dealing their content as inappropriate for children. For many, this felt like a slap in the face
because youtube had often celebrated right as a platform that empowers the LGBT community. They flagged our pride. They did not allow us to buy ads. They restricted us, they demonetized us and
they did not stand up for us and they broke their promise of a platform for free speech
built off of our backs. Then they blatantly discriminate against us, admit that their algorithm is biased and promise to fix it. They lie and still they claim inclusion and
even when a march in our parade! How dare they! it felt particularly ironic that
when some LGBT treaters listed their content as LGBT and their perspective, it got their
content demonetized and in their opinion censored for who they were. Youtube still hadn’t been doing a great job
at communicating their new policies to creators and for some there was a lot of gray area
around whether or not being openly LGBT meant that you were violating the new policy against
sexual content. And it all comes back to this particular insidious
idea, which has been with us for so long as part of our history. Look at our history. Look at Anita Bryant. Look at section 28 the sexualization of Queer
and Trans people is still rampant. This kind of insidious poison, which makes
us seem inappropriate, it’s still around. It’s still having an effect Either way, many people felt as though they were being
targeted and silenced. Endless emails about demonetization made many feel though they
were being directly targeted and shafted by youtube. And many creators no longer felt as
though youtube was a space for the LGBT community to openly communicate how they felt. People don’t seem to understand why LGBT plus
people get so emotional and upset and angry around these ideas. But this is exactly why, because we have all
grown up in a world where we haven’t felt like we fit in. And that is because of all of these ideas
and all of these societal values that so desperately need to change. Like I said, I don’t personally believe that
demonetization is inherently censorship, especially when the videos that are demonetized still
remain on the website. But this certainly concerned me. Since starting my channel, I had grown to
become more of a figure in the online LGBT community, and my content had changed while
my channel started as a public diary, where I documented my life and everything from dating
to my transition, I slowly started to create content that had the purpose of educating
people about things like feminism and racism. And because of this, I was invited to youtube
headquarters, so to speak, with various teams who were responsible for much of the fallout
around the demonetization of LGBT creators on the platform.

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