YouTube’s De-Monetisation Controversy – Why Is It Happening?

By @TheMarkDalton

YouTubers are not happy, the rules for how you make money on YouTube were changed last week, except they were not really changed at all? However, I can’t disagree with how YouTubers are feeling because their business has been disrupted without a moments notice thanks to corporate YouTube.


YouTube started the controversy by trying to adopt a new transparency policy. Now when videos are de-monetised (stripped of advertising) you will get an email from YouTube to let you know about it. This was something they have not been doing before so the question now is how many videos do creators on YouTube have which they are only going to realise now are not actually monetised?

[easy-tweet tweet=”YouTube is a business and in reality they can do as they please. But does that make it right?”]

Guidelines for what kind of content can be monetised on YouTube have actually been in place since YouTube started running ads on user created content. The guidelines have always included a prohibition on bad language and sexual innuendo but now it seems to be getting enforced widely on the platform.

YouTubers get angry over change and I can see why. When corporate YouTube decides to change something on the fly then it can affect business. Anger on the platform is building on years of feeling ignored and undervalued. The reality is that YouTubers are creating content on the platform, they are not employees and so they tend to be powerless when it comes to change.

It is not censorship

There have been cries of “censorship” over the past number of weeks. YouTube has explained that the policy has not changed, what has changed is how the policy is enforced.

There are plenty of examples of videos which are dubiously flagged and even if a creator successfully appeals the decision it could take 12-24 hours and that is a lot of potential revenue lost. However, the video does not get taken down from YouTube during the review process. The video still appears, it is still searchable and the only change is that the viewer won’t see any ads displayed on it.

That means that the content creator is making nothing while the appeal is taking place. So it is not censorship, nothing is being censored here and it is not a sudden development. YouTube is simply being more transparent about what they are doing regarding monetisable content. There are a lot of holes regarding what is being de-monetised, the terms of what is making the cut and what is not making the cut is simply far too broad. Nobody knows if their content will be de-monetised or not at the moment and that is also a big problem.

Now, YouTubers could be dealing with censorship down the road. If a YouTuber modifies their content and their behaviour to ensure they are getting paid and their content is not being flagged – that is indeed censorship. However the decision to do that lies with them and not with Google.

Honestly, changes like this sucks for any YouTuber

YouTube is no stranger to making site-wide changes without notifications which financially impact content creators and many of the creators in my YouTube subscriptions have been understandably angry/upset/frustrated about all of this as it hits them in the pocket.

Creators have built businesses on YouTube on a framework which they know can make them money. When the framework is altered and they have no control over it then the stability of their livelihoods is threatened and none of us want to be in that position professionally.

YouTube is adamant that nothing has changed. Right now many YouTubers are appealing de-monetisation and that is raising a whole new batch of questions because if what YouTube says is true then this has been going on for months and creators simply have not been aware of it.

Which basically means that YouTube has been costing creators money over a time period of several months and that is a big issue. Is that how they reward devoted content creators? The flip side of the coin is that YouTube can do whatever they like, YouTube is a business and it is up to them to decide what policies to enforce and how to enforce them.

Who said internet fame came easy?