It’s no secret that YouTube has been failing its content creators over the years, from demonetization of videos, to taking down entire channels for dropping a couple of f-bombs. But, this time, YouTube may have hit an all-time low with its latest endeavor.
Instead of taking down the accounts making predatory comments, YouTube is demonetizing videos and punishing the creators, not the commenters.
The reason why it came to this “solution,” is because of pressure from advertisers.
A standard monetized video on YouTube will have ads playing before, during and after videos. In this case, some of these videos would showcase a child, sometimes in a “compromised” position such as doing gymnastics or dancing. These videos would then be subjected to hateful and sometimes predatory comments.
When companies caught wind of their ads being played during these videos, they started to pull them from the platform and with that, YouTube lost a lot of money.
In an article published by NBC News, companies such as AT&T, Nestle, and Epic Games to name a few, have begun to pull their ads from the platform. According to an AT&T spokesperson in the article, “Until Google can protect our brand from offensive content of any kind, we are removing all advertising from YouTube.”
YouTube’s proposed solution to this was to demonetize those videos so ads don’t get played and these companies can keep giving YouTube their money. Their ads would only be played on appropriate, videos without children and YouTube gets to keep their money, but at the cost of its creators.
This is a dangerous situation for YouTube to be in because it doesn’t necessarily stop pedophiles from viewing videos featuring children, it simply makes them more anonymous.
Imagine a content creator is openly gay, and someone leaves a homophobic comment on that creator’s video. Now imagine a company that has its ads played before that video hears about this and does not want to be associated with that comment.
Said company can threaten to take its business and money away from YouTube. In turn, YouTube can tell that company that ads will not be played on any videos where members of the LGBTQ community can be subjected to those comments, so they can keep giving YouTube profits.
YouTube keeps their money, but now that creator suffers financially and can’t read the positive comments they receive.
However, many content creators on the platform have begun to speak out against this new policy. Some claim it is aiding the pedophiles, and some claim it is a discriminatory practice.
Popular content creator Colleen Ballinger said in a recent video that content from her brother’s channel, The Ballinger Family, has been demonetized and had its comments taken down because of their youngest son doing gymnastics.
It is also worth noting that Ballinger’s video about the situation was demonetized and the comments were turned off for a period of time.
Another channel affected by this is Special Books by Special Kids (SBSK). SBSK is a nonprofit organization that spotlights both children and adults with a wide range of developmental and cognitive problems to bring awareness and create a sense of inclusion and community through reading.
Channel creator Chris Ulmer, a former special education teacher, made a video accusing YouTube of discriminatory practices. He said YouTube found the channel, “At high risk for predatory comments” despite his videos showing no signs of predatory content or comments in the past.
Obviously, YouTube has an obligation to protect those children who are showcased on its platform, but as Ballinger put it best, “By demonetizing those videos, all you’re doing is helping the pedophile.”
YouTube should not be punishing their creators for the acts of predators. Instead, it should be working diligently to make sure people like that are not able to prey on them.
Removing comments just makes it easier for them to hide.