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YouTube Will Remove Ads, Downgrade Discoverability of Channels Posting Offensive Videos (techcrunch.com) 314

Earlier today, YouTube barred Logan Paul from serving ads on his video channel in response to a "recent pattern of behavior" from him. Now, YouTube has announced a more formal and wider set of sanctions it's prepared to level on any creator that starts to post videos that are harmful to viewers, others in the YouTube community, or advertisers. TechCrunch reports: "We may remove a channel's eligibility to be recommended on YouTube, such as appearing on our home page, trending tab or watch next," Ariel Bardin, Vice President of Product Management at YouTube, writes in a blog post.

The full list of steps, as outlined by YouTube:
1. Premium Monetization Programs, Promotion and Content Development Partnerships. We may remove a channel from Google Preferred and also suspend, cancel or remove a creator's YouTube Original.
2. Monetization and Creator Support Privileges. We may suspend a channel's ability to serve ads, ability to earn revenue and potentially remove a channel from the YouTube Partner Program, including creator support and access to our YouTube Spaces.
3. Video Recommendations. We may remove a channel's eligibility to be recommended on YouTube, such as appearing on our home page, trending tab or watch next.

The changes are significant not just because they could really hit creators where it hurts, but because they also point to a real shift for the platform. YouTube has long been known as a home for edgy videos filled with pranks and potentially offensive content, made in the name of comedy or freedom of expression. Now, the site is turning over a new leaf, using a large team of human curators and AI to track the content of what's being posted, and these videos have a much bigger chance of falling afoul of YouTube's rules and getting dinged.

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YouTube Will Remove Ads, Downgrade Discoverability of Channels Posting Offensive Videos

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  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Friday February 09, 2018 @10:11PM (#56098633)
    but they're not going to pay you to do it. Given some of the crap I've seen folks do online (there's one guy who was basically abusing his kids for views) it's probably a good thing. Jerks like these brought the hammer down on a lot of stuff that was just good fun because they don't have the sense to know where the line should be drawn. Go to a spooky forest? Ok. Show a recent suicide? No, not Ok. If you can't tell why you need to step back from making videos (or watching them).
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah! Ban Cody's Lab! That horrible show deserves the penalties it gets.

      Oh, wait, this was the anti-science rant, right?

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by DCFusor ( 1763438 )
        I guess whoever modded the parent about Cody's lab troll was just...a troll, or someone so stupid they don't get sarcasm.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yes, I am so glad that they demonetise and demote videos that have cursing in them. My overly-sensitive, PC/SJW, white knighting, privileged, entitled, irresponsible ears were literally being harmed by that.

    • And I think that videos promoting flat earth and religion are offensive. But I choose to not watch them.

    • by elrous0 ( 869638 )

      Censorship always starts with the water getting more comfortably warm. But it ends with the water boiling.

  • Let's hear a little love for the defense.
  • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Friday February 09, 2018 @10:12PM (#56098643)

    I watch a machinist/handyman channel that fairly regularly makes fun of others who try to do handyman/maker things, but his making fun of them is usually well-deserved. There was one clip in-particular where the subject had enlarged a hole in wood by holding the wood in his hand on the other side from the drill, with the bit basically making arcs across his palm as he ran it. If he slipped at all he would have cut into his hand.

    My guess is that despite the original youtuber doing something patently stupid, it would be this guy who made fun of it that would run afoul of the rules, not the original moron.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The part I don't get is why they're removing ads. Don't they want to discourage people from watching the offensive videos?

      • by TWX ( 665546 )

        Okay, I laughed. I forgot about most of the ads because I don't normally see them anyway.

    • cause it sounds like he didn't. What youtube is worried about is out of control copy cats. This most recent high profile ban was for tazing a dead rat. That raises the question, why was the rat dead? Maybe he found it. Probably he found it. But will the next youtuber trying to break in kill the rat themselves? Probably. Lots of psychos out there, I can't blame youtube for not wanting to be associated with them.
  • Offensive to who? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mr307 ( 49185 ) on Friday February 09, 2018 @10:17PM (#56098657)

    Subjective criterion will no be abused right?!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 09, 2018 @10:26PM (#56098687)

      I, personally, am offended by all the videos.

      Also, by Justin Bieber.

      And Windows 10.

      Hopefully all those things can now get demonitized.

    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

      Yep, what offends me might not offend you.
      I had a friend that was so offended by a church that paid to have a booth at a city holiday festival that he complained that it violated the separation of church and state.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      My guess would be SJW and whiny liberals.

      • by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <mashiki@ g m a il.com> on Saturday February 10, 2018 @12:37AM (#56099079) Homepage

        *insert SJW's don't exist* and *whiny neo-puritain liberals are mainstream you stupid conservative* here.

        • Neo-puritan SJW authoritarians are DEFINITELY NOT liberals. So far as I can tell they are dead set against free speech, tolerance, individuality, and pretty much everything else that liberals favor.

          • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

            That's what they label themselves as, even using the progressive label. Maybe there's a serious problem in the left with crazies right now that needs to be taken care of?

            • by Z80a ( 971949 )

              I should not be called an "ecofriend" if i constantly bash baby seals dead with clubs just because i call myself an ecofriend.
              Titles and descriptions are earned by action, not words.

          • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) on Saturday February 10, 2018 @08:59AM (#56099745)

            Neo-puritan SJW authoritarians are DEFINITELY NOT liberals. So far as I can tell they are dead set against free speech, tolerance, individuality, and pretty much everything else that liberals favor.

            Sadly, such classic liberals are no longer welcome on the left in general, or the Democratic Party in particular, anymore. I am a classic liberal myself, and I didn't leave behind the Democratic Party so much as it left me behind. It saddens me deeply to see a party that once stood for free speech and true equality slowly morph into a party of authoritarian thought police and anti-white/anti-male bigotry.

      • Whining is not a partisan thing, even if the subject is. There are plenty of whiny liberals tying to get things pulled for offending them. There are also plenty of whiny conservatives trying to get things pulled for offending them.

    • Subjective criterion will no be abused right?!

      If you take a peek over here [google.com] you will see they have pretty well defined what is going to be a problem. Sure it's not going to be perfect, but it's a pretty comprehensive list what sort of material they're going to.. discourage.

      Yes, some videos may toe the line on some of these rules, and subjective opinion could play a part, but, for the most part, I think a video is going to be fairly easy for any normal person to classify, given those [google.com] parameters.

      • by epyT-R ( 613989 ) on Saturday February 10, 2018 @12:12AM (#56099037)

        I guarantee that such a filter will have a steadily widening target. 'Advertiser friendly' content is basically anything bland and boring enough to appear in mainstream media. Basically anything important will be demonetized unless the viewpoint conforms with the status quo pushed by large organizations, public and private.

        • by phorm ( 591458 )

          'Advertiser friendly' is anything that gets lots of attention, but isn't going to be the subject of a significant amount of negative publicity.

        • The filter will not only widen in terms of content, also in terms of linkage. It will become contagious.If you link to a site with a low reputation your reputation will suffer. So think twice before tweeting such a subject to a friend because it will affect their reputation.
          This way you achieve mass conformism.

        • by DogDude ( 805747 )
          ... and what's your point? Youtube is a large advertising company that sells ads to other large companies. Why wouldn't they only promote "advertiser friendly" stuff?
      • by Mr307 ( 49185 ) on Saturday February 10, 2018 @01:04AM (#56099129)

        Took a look at the list and three of the categories are so subjective and open to any level of 'offensiveness' as to be useless, or useful depending on how someone feels that second.

        I expect the belief that 'its going to be abused or used to push an agenda' will be what we will see, all for our own good of course, we need Google to 'keep us safe' right?

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          YouTube isn't the only source of income. There is Patreon and Hatreon, and free speech warriors seem more than willing to fund these channels.

          • by Z80a ( 971949 )

            Until youtube starts to strike your channel, such as happened with Mr.Cody several times.

            • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

              Are you saying that Patreon bans channels that get YouTube strikes? How do they even find out?

              Patreon funds many extreme channels that YouTube doesn't.

          • by elrous0 ( 869638 )

            YouTube isn't the only source of income. There is Patreon and Hatreon,

            Well, I'm pretty sure no mainstream conservative or classic liberal wants to be associated with a site calling itself "Hatreon." And sadly, Patreon (being a Silicon Valley company) is also subject to the same pressure from the radical left that infects companies like Google, Facebook, et. al. Patreon has already begun banning a number of conservatives (like Lauren Southern, for example), and all indications are that this is only going to accelerate as the 2020 election approaches. It could very easily get t

            • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

              Patreon gets a lot of flack for not banning some really horrible people.

              Also, other services exist.

              What is your alternative? Are you going to force advertisers to give people money?

        • The fact that the categories are subjective is not necessarily because they are hiding anything. It is more likely because they intend to go with the flow and let others decide.
          I encountered articles from a socialist site, http://www.wsws.org/ [wsws.org] .. They claim they've been tracking their web statistics over a long time and in the last year they started to decline dramatically, and it was mostly because a lot of search terms which used to return links to their site no longer did so. You have to dig deep in the

    • The problem is that this could be abused in many ways. For example, with political postings if someone did not like what is posted even if the posting is true, they could tell YouTube that it is offensive and use Twitter or Facebook to tell other users to say the posting is offensive. Companies or countries--not that have one in mind--could use bots to say that a posting is offensive. Without checks, I could see this quickly turning into censorship.
      • They do that already. It's a very old tactic. It predates the internet - even back then there were groups of do-gooders who organised newsletters identifying what they had decided was the latest filth on TV and urging their supporters to write letters to the channel, the regulator and the adertisers expressing their outrage and demanding it be pulled.

        The people sending the complaints didn't actually watch the program they were complaining about, of course. They would never pollute their homes with it.

    • Subjective, arbitrary, and opaque. Even if all you do is post about old games and computer hardware, you're not immune [twitter.com].

      YouTube are acting as though they're so big and attractive that the talent can't leave. That sort of thinking is only true for a limited time.

      • by iwbcman ( 603788 )

        Cry me a damned river man.

        What else could you possibly expect?

        Facebook is a private corporation, not the commons, or a public domain-everything about Facebook including all of the content, each web page-which includes where advertising is embedded, is private property.

        Think of it this way: Facebook is like some rich mofo's BIGASS backyard. The rich mofo invited a bunch of kids to hang out on his lawn. At some point some of the kids started tearing up the yard, mostly by shitting all over it. Finally the

    • Since it's YouTube/Google, to the authoritarian progressive* snowflakes who have made it their mission in life to be offended by as many things as possible. Those perpetually one slightly off-color joke away from running off to a safe-space with puppies to cry about how the joke was literally violence and they're literally shaking; who don't at all see the problem with then turning around to explain why 'kill all white men' and 'kill yourself cis-het scum' are perfectly fine, non-hateful things to say which
    • Offensive to their advertisers, of course. Youtube is an advertising company. Of course it's going to be subjective. Why would you think they'd do otherwise?
  • Blocking channels (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Friday February 09, 2018 @10:35PM (#56098713)
    There is no mechanism in YourTube to block a channel. If I want to ensure I don't see any Pew Die Pie, I can do so only with extensions that take the PDP recommendations and re-write the page shown to exclude the unwanted suggestions. That's a silly work around to block known unwanted channels. YT should have a right-click -> Hide selection. Two clicks to forever exclude a channel. Better yet, some classifications. Block all gaming videos. I do look up some things occasionally, like a level play through, or something. But, in doing so, I get "related" results, which always has hich click-count channels like PDP. But I want to be able to look up a play through for a game level without opening myself to unwanted content.

    Google doesn't understand filters, or being user friendly.
    • They do have this feature. Click the triple dots to the right of every suggested video and select Not Interested. Then click the Tell Us Why. Then check the I'm not interested in the FooBar channel.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      There is no mechanism in YourTube to block a channel.

      While this is technically true, if you pound that dislike button on a video you don't like, not only is it MUCH less likely you'll ever be recommended a video from that channel again, you are less likely to get suggested any similar content from other channels.

      I personally am pretty amazed at how good YouTube's algorithms are at suggesting stuff I might actually want to see. And almost never suggests anything I probably wouldn't like.

      However, I am aware, as everyone should be, once you 'train' YouTube, it'

      • > I personally am pretty amazed at how good
        > YouTube's algorithms are at suggesting stuff I might
        > actually want to see. And almost never suggests
        > anything I probably wouldn't like.

        And yet, YouTube... jaw-dropping amazingly, considering that they're part of Google... has gotten it's targeted *advertising* so wrong that it's somewhere between comically bad and outright dumbfounding. It doesn't matter has many times you tell me that it's the "champagne of beers", I will never be a customer of mi

        • has gotten it's targeted *advertising* so wrong that it's somewhere between comically bad and outright dumbfounding.

          I wouldn't know. U-Block Origin has wiped YouTube of all its advertisements, from my perspective. I have no idea what they're advertising these days.

      • If YouTube suggestions work so well for you, you probably have very mainstream interests. For me personally they not once have been of any relevance.

        • If YouTube suggestions work so well for you, you probably have very mainstream interests. For me personally they not once have been of any relevance.

          You must not be trying very hard. There are videos covering just about -any- topic (except porn) on YouTube. I don't really consider my interests terribly mainstream. I mostly watch the electronics stuff, like bigclive, AvE and mikeselectronics (but not EEVBLOG, that guy has an informerical voice, so annoying!) Watching people take stuff apart is amusing, it's all the fun without the mess and effort. Beyond that, I watch mostly educational stuff, especially phyiscs related material. World Science Fest

    • and it'll be the last time you see that channel in your feed. You'll also stop getting similar crap. It's worked for me for ages. Sure, every now and then youtube puts crap in my feed, but it's never the same crap (there's so much new crap it's hard to keep up) and in the meantime I get stuff like cool videos of teardowns of old RISC computers I didn't even know existed.
  • I have no issue with dumb/offensive/edgy/whatever videos, but YouTube has no obligation to pay the creators. Advertisers have started making clear they don't want to be associated with these "creators" anyhow. Win/win as far as I can tell.

  • YouTube has announced a more formal and wider set of sanctions it's prepared to level on any creator that starts to post videos that are harmful to viewers

    Somehow I'm sure, Che Guevara will not be deemed offensive [dailycaller.com]...

    Yes, Google has full right to do what they please with their servers and services. Just wish that they — and other people defending this right of theirs — were consistent and allowed other people and companies to exercise the same rights.

    • Other people and companies can and do exercise the same rights.

      You should see what they show on xwhateveritscalled! And Jenny Cam.

      • by mi ( 197448 )

        Other people and companies can and do exercise the same rights.

        Not quite [slashdot.org]...

        You should see what they show on xwhateveritscalled

        Yeah, I'm sure some sort of "post boy" can be found to justify the censorship ... And then apply it to whatever else the censors find disagreeable.

        The First Amendment makes it illegal for the government to do it, but most of the arguments behind the Amendment apply to private entities just as well.

    • Somehow I'm sure, Che Guevara will not be deemed offensive...

      Somehow I don't think Che Guevara will mind if he's demonetised.

    • That's what I've pointed out earlier. If you privatize the channels for free speech you get a huge freedom to censor free speech.
      What is happening here is that the big social media players and Google are on board for forms of censorship, but they leave it open what this will include. It's negotiable. The result is the game is on for the strong players to start pushing out the weak ones. Weak in the sense of politically weak. So all dissident voices will be targeted, oppressed groups, designated enemies, sta

    • Why would he? He's dead, nobody gives a fuck about him anymore. He's essentially the political equivalent of a cat video.

  • Notice how they talk about "offensive" videos.

    The problem is, "offensive" is entirely SUBJECTIVE.

    So, you're now simply at the mercy of whoever's having a bad day at YouTube/Google today.

    No ACTUAL standards or criteria. Just "Someone's fee fees are NOT happy with you for some reason".

    So, basically YouTube can ban you for any reason (or worse, NO REASON).

    Hoping a viable competitor emerges soon.

    Because we're rapidly approaching the point where professional content creators are becoming unpaid labor for YouTu

    • by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <mashiki@ g m a il.com> on Saturday February 10, 2018 @12:49AM (#56099099) Homepage

      Because we're rapidly approaching the point where professional content creators are becoming unpaid labor for YouTube.

      Already there, most youtubers don't make more then $20/mo now. That's in the 100k+ sub category with 40-45% viewership, they only make ends meet by using things like patreon or whatever else. Of course, the same people who decided to go after those youtubers are now going after sites like patreon to get those same people kicked off. For what? Well whatever offends their sensibilities of course.

      Enjoy the neo-puritanism because the backlash against it is gonna be pretty spectacular. Even our ultra-feminist premier here in Canada(Trudeau) discovered just how little people are putting up with the bullshit. See his "peoplekind" comment which then suddenly became a joke(after public backlash), which nobody found funny and his handler freaked the fuck out and started labeling anyone who questioned it or that narrative as alt-right and neo-nazis.

      • by Chas ( 5144 )

        Yeah. The fucking "You're a nazi" shit only works up until they've had enough and just AGREE before stomping said label-maker into a mass of blood and bruises.

        Hell, we're seeing it now with the "How could you hit A WOMAN!" rioters who think pussy-pass allows them free shots on everyone...

      • by c ( 8461 )

        See his "peoplekind" comment which then suddenly became a joke(after public backlash), which nobody found funny...

        He'd probably have gotten a better response if he'd just told the truth; his "peoplekind" comment was really a way to deflect a non-sensense question from a batshit crazy member of the audience.

        • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

          He'd probably have gotten a better response if he'd just told the truth; his "peoplekind" comment was really a way to deflect a non-sensense question from a batshit crazy member of the audience.

          Well if you don't live in Canada, or follow Canadian politics closely, this type of response from him isn't abnormal. It's normal, that's what's troublesome and in some cases scary. His belief that "if you kill your enemies they win" - in response to terrorists is a good example. It spawned a whole meme industry around it. It's not only that, but he's fundamentally out of touch.

    • That's pretty much the problem. What you'll get is this vicious cycle:

      1. Loudmouths complain about "offensive" content (mostly the kind of content that debunks their pet belief which they can't refute with arguments).
      2. Loudmouths from the other side retaliate by calling the content of proponents from 1. offensive.
      3. Repeat 1 and 2 until what's left is cat videos, kids playing minecraft and other crap nobody gives a shit about.

  • by walterbyrd ( 182728 ) on Saturday February 10, 2018 @12:00AM (#56098999)

    PragerU - think of them what you will - creates videos that are certainly not offensive, or inappropriate for any age.

    Yet PragerU has had many videos put into restricted mode.

    Who Will Google Silence Next?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giNJwXiktZ0

    • Perhaps not offensive, but certainly not accurate. PragerU produces videos that a slick, polished, and packed full of half-truths and occasional outright lies.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by orzetto ( 545509 )

      PragerU claims to be a university, but is just a propaganda outlet. So they are lying right from their name.

      They do expose a number of political opinions I find wrong, distasteful or outright despicable, such as that Israel does not discriminate against Arabs, or that capitalism is the solution to poverty, but that does not warrant any kind of censorship. But when they venture in the territory of alternative facts, as opposed to alternative opinions, such as "global warming isn't real", then they deserve to

      • Despots often declare their favored opinions to be "facts" while deeming contrary information to be "lies." Strong free speech laws remove government entirely from that arena.

        This isn't government, it's a popular private service. However: if culture is downstream of politics, it should emulate our laws about the sanctity of the soap box in the public sphere. If culture is upstream of politics, then if we value legal protections against government censorship, we ought to model that attitude in our private
    • Well, at least in this case nothing of value was lost. I've seen some of those videos. Mostly religious bullshit debunked ages ago paraded out as if it had any scientific merit.

      C'mon, if you don't have any better examples, you make YouTube look like they're actually doing their viewers a service.

  • So posting a video with girls in wet t-shirts will be okay for most advertising, but posting a video that shows you how to make a nuclear weapon in your basement will be down-voted, ignored and (GASP!) demonetized. Kid videos with vapid Care Bear-like content will be okay for Super Frosted Sugar Bombs cereal but posting a kid video on how to take care of your bicycle will be put in the ignore pile and demonetized because it allows for free thought, independence and prevents the kiddy bicycle companies from

  • They've been demonetizing and rendering less-findable videos that don't satisfy mainstream sensibilities for at least a year. This has affected political content on both the left and right.

    Still unrecognized in the media that you are allowed to see is that a new axis has opened in the political landscape: establishment vs anti-establishment. The six corporations (soon to be five) that control all the media are on the establishment side, of course, and they are having a tantrum over supporters of both Trump

  • Cat videos and 10 things that will BLOW MY MIND?

    Pass. Anyone know a decent video service where people making actual content are present?

  • Make a webpage. Collect all those links that YouTube wants to bury that fit your personal preference of the narrative(s), or if you're actually such a good Samaritan, actually collect all those demonetized, buried videos and create a link index for them.

    I'm fairly convinced that it's quite possible to run something like that even on ads, despite what YouTube claims most advertising companies don't care too much about the content as long as you can spin it in such a way that you provide freedom of expression

  • Sounds like a plan... if they were actually capable of detecting abuse in a reliable manner. They have clearly shown they are not; they are are continuously flagging educational and/or scientific content, frustrating content creators and driving them elsewhere. I think the success of platforms like Patreon and brilliant.org is to a large part fueled by Youtube's inability to protect valuable content creators from their incompetent bots. This will be the end of Youtube as the de facto video platform. It will

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