Recently, Philip DeFranco, a popular YouTuber with millions of subscribers, made a video about YouTube’s censorship spree. Hours after the video was posted, it was demonetized… but not by the AI’s algorithm; it was done manually by one of the staff members on YouTube’s content review panel.
— Philip DeFranco (@PhillyD) August 25, 2017
This is in relation to a video posted up on August 24th, 2017, titled “Youtube Caught Deleting Videos, Why It’s a Problem, and Disturbing Videos Expose Abuse”.
The video is no longer monetized. You can watch it below from DeFranco’s channel.
The video discusses a number of topics, including YouTube’s AI algorithm automatically deleting videos, removing channels, and sending out strikes.
However, the video does contain disturbing clips from the cheerleader incident involving girls being forced to do the splits while crying and screaming. Perhaps the reviewer took offense to the content and demonetized the video over it? Some of DeFranco’s other videos are also demonetized, but it’s intermittent and inconsistent.
What’s not inconsistent is Censored Gaming getting demonetized. They appear to effectively be on YouTube’s advertising blacklist. Back on August 17th, 2017 they tweeted out that over 90% of their videos had been demonetized.
— Censored Gaming (@CensoredGaming_) August 18, 2017
YouTube has been demonetizing other channels as well, but sometimes it would do so based on the content of the channel. In the case of Censored Gaming, they cover video games from around the world that have been censored or banned in some form, fashion or way.
However, things have taken a step further than just their back catalog of content being censored, now their videos are automatically being demonetized even directly after uploading them, identical to other YouTubers who have been added to YouTube’s blacklist where even videos set to private or containing innocuous content have been automatically demonetized by the AI.
— Censored Gaming (@CensoredGaming_) August 26, 2017
In the most recent case, YouTube demonetized a video from Censored Gaming that was about their new sub-Reddit opening up.
YouTube has also been preemptively demonetizing content as well, such as a live-stream that famous game developer American McGee attempted to conduct. The flag was handed out before any of the contents were even uploaded.
— American McGee (@americanmcgee) August 23, 2017
This mirrors another recent case where another YouTuber attempted to interview the author of Inside GamerGate, James Desborough, but the account was flagged and hit with a community strike, and the live-stream was banned by YouTube hours before it even took place.
YouTube did respond to Kylie, the YouTuber who attempted to interview James Desborough, and they sent out a letter indicating that the AI only monitors content within two hours of the upload. However, they didn’t explain why the live-stream was preemptively banned before it even took place.
Twitter user Colossal is Crazy posted up the screenshots from the e-mail sent to Kylie, pointing out the inconsistency of what was mentioned in the letter and what actually happened.
The letter from YouTube does go on to state…
“Please also note that the algorithm takes into consideration several factors to determine if a video is advertiser friendly. For example, if a video has no content to present and cannot be related to any advertiser-friendly material, then it’s possible for the system to tag it as non-advertiser friendly since there’s no content to pull or match.
“Hope this can help put into perspective. Feel free to let us know if there’s anything else.”
Many of these changes have been put into effect as YouTube has begun rolling out their Limited State content policy earlier in the month. Along with it came a huge ban-wave on ads running on specific videos, or in some cases running on specific channels. This is also not limited to just politically oriented channels… some entertainment channels covering consumer products like Destiny 2 have also been added to the demonetization blacklist.
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