David Pakman Reveals YouTube’s Demonetization Is Not An Old Policy
(Last Updated On: September 8, 2016)

David Pakman from the David Pakman Show recently did a video about some of the content that he’s had demonetized recently, following on YouTube’s policy update regarding notifications sent out to let content creators know that their video(s) will be demonetized. His video highlights that YouTube’s claim of this enforcement policy always being in effect is not quite as true as they would lead you to believe.

Kotaku in Action spotted the recent clip that Pakman uploaded on September 6th, which clocks in at only seven minutes. He talks about some of the videos that have been demonetized from his extensive library of content, and notes that the demonetization has only happened recently after the notices went out and not beforehand.

In one particular example, a video called “Marijuana as Schedule I Drug is a Disaster” was highlighted at the 2:32 mark, which shows that it’s been recently hit with the demonetization measure after it was uploaded on August 23rd, 2016. This is in addition to several other videos on Pakman’s show being demonetized.

A Youtube representative vaguely explained to Kotaku that the enforcement of the policy has been in effect since the policy was implemented last year in June, saying…

“While our policy of demonetizing videos due to advertiser-friendly concerns hasn’t changed, we’ve recently improved the notification and appeal process to ensure better communication.”

However, if the enforcement of the policy was always in effect, then a video from two weeks prior to the policy enforcement being made public should have already been demonetized the week it was uploaded. Why was it only demonetized after the notifications of enforcement started going out in early September?

A similar situation also happened recently with YouTuber Computing Forever, when his video critical of Hillary Clinton was hit with demonetization.

Some are saying that the bots are just finicky in which videos they target, others believe that the new enforcement team may just be slow in getting around to some videos.

Now it is true that in the past there was some enforcement regarding demonetization, copyrighted material, spam and other issues centered around culling videos that broke YouTube’s terms of service, but it was all handled by a specific Google community team.

If videos were reported for breaking the rules or having copyrighted material or publishing illegal content, Google’s community managers would swoop in to rectify the problem. Demonetization was a much rarer thing and was not enforced as aggressively as it is now due to a more democratic approach to the subject matter.

In fact, well before YouTube put the new enforcement of the demonetization into effect, some e-mail logs from the private Google community team were leaked, revealing that there are specific people applying things like search demotions, strikes, removals and demonetization to videos that are escalated to the enforcement team. The screenshot below is from August 6th, 2015.

The relevant part of what Francis states is the part that’s highlighted “Strictly confidential”…

[Strictly confidential]We do however make an internal note of the scammy/spammy nature of the videos and render the videos more difficult to find for our users [Strictly confidential].

So depending on the video it would simply be harder to find, resulting in fewer views, thus lower ad revenue. There are, of course, ways around that roadblock, such as using Facebook or Twitter or other social media to draw people to the video regardless of where it sits on YouTube’s internal search engine. Of course, social media and outside influence don’t really mean anything if a video is hit with the demonetization banhammer.

Interestingly enough, one of the administrators sent out an e-mail coaxing the moderators into not using bots to report spam because they could “logjam” the review queues.

Now if YouTube is still using a mix of live humans and bots, then it might explain why some videos are being picked out at random for demonetization while others are obviously demonetized with what appears to be a selective human touch.

H3H3 Productions revealed that specific keywords, titles and descriptions can also tip the flags, including words like “rape” and “depression”, “suicide” and “Hitler”.

While an argument can easily be made that YouTube enforcement for content standards always existed in some form, it definitely seems obvious that it was no where near as heavy-handed as it’s become after the recent policy update that was handed down.


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Billy has been rustling Jimmies for years covering video games, technology and digital trends within the electronics entertainment space. The GJP cried and their tears became his milkshake. Need to get in touch? Try the Contact Page.

  • Hawk Hopper

    I’ve been thinking of how they could extend this whole “advertiser friendly” business, and they could just say that certain content creators as a whole are advertiser unfriendly.

    Like lets say if YouTube and advertisers get together and decide someone like Sargon of Akkad is entirely advertiser unfriendly and strip any advertising his videos have on them. They would basically demonetize whole channels that way.

    This would be a nightmare scenario, but it could happen. I know that in some countries, videos are entirely blocked for various reasons, so what if YouTube gets advertisers that do business all around the world to single out channels and content creators and demonetize them all around the world?

    • so what if YouTube gets advertisers that do business all around the world to single out channels and content creators and demonetize them all around the world?

      Like you said… nightmare scenario. That sounds like a real possibility, too. It all depends on what goes on behind the scenes. We won’t know unless people can leak some phone conversations or e-mails from the deals that Google makes with the ad vendors.

      • Indeed. Whistle-blowers are the only sure-fire way of knowing what really goes on.

      • Hawk Hopper

        It seems like YouTube is the most tight lipped of companies like Twitter and Facebook. Whenever something like this happens, it seems to take everyone by surprise and nobody really fully grasps what is going on with YouTube or why.

        If YouTube documents were to leak, that would give great insight on what they are doing and why.

  • lucben999

    Karen Straughan also noted that her ad revenue was cut in half only after the notices started going out, which supports the theory that the policy wasn’t being enforced until the notices.

  • C G Saturation

    A friend told me YouTube’s been doing this for a while, but I don’t think it matters whether they started it a long time ago or recently. It doesn’t change the fact that they’re selectively demonetizing videos via criteria that seems to be subtly pushing a specific agenda, as described by Pakham.

    I’m sure there are trashy videos that are being deservedly culled by this, but it saddens me that people in general are being so naive and accepting of YouTube’s agenda and bullshit. Google and YouTube have a track record of being shifty, especially when it comes to politics.

    People are often desperate to believe that nothing bad can possibly be happening, until they get hit personally in a way they can no longer deny. By then, it’s too late… they should have voiced concerns before things became concrete, instead of ridiculing anyone else who tried to.

    • Gerg Arata

      Apparently it’s based on tags rather than content. H3H3 did a video about this a week or two ago

      • I thought it was just the tags, too, until they hit that Hillary Clinton video, which seemed to have the same tags as the Donald Trump videos that were pretty much the same thing… only they were about Donald Trump and they weren’t demonetized.

    • durka durka

      dont they get they lose revenue by doing this?

    • Ethan42

      “People are often desperate to believe that nothing bad can possibly be happening, until they get hit personally in a way they can no longer
      deny. By then, it’s too late…”

      That right there reminds me of the quote by Martin Niemoller.

    • Mr.Towel

      People are often desperate to believe that nothing bad can possibly be
      happening, until they get hit personally in a way they can no longer
      deny. By then, it’s too late… they should have voiced concerns before
      things became concrete, instead of ridiculing anyone else who tried to.

      The History of Mankind.

    • TBill

      In Boogie’s most recent video on this, he mentioned that he saw a large uptick in the number of demonetized videos on his channel. So, they have been doing it for a while, but they obviously broadened the criteria recently.