YouTube is taking measures to help ensure its user-generated content doesn’t end up positioning ads by big brands next to questionable content. The social network will not allow ads on channels that have fewer than 10,000 views total, across all their posted videos. YouTube told The Wall Street Journal that the measure has been in development since November, and that it’s intended to block channels which steal content from other sources from deriving revenue from the platform.
YouTube is facing a significant backlash for displaying ads from partners against video containing racist and otherwise objectionable content. Google apologized for the mistake, and adapted its policies, but some major brands, including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo (which is rich, considering its subsequent Kendall Jenner snafu) and Walmart pulled advertising other than targeted search following reports by the WSJ of the ads being displayed against unsavory content.
Previously, YouTube has made participation in its advertising program relatively easy: Account owners can apply to run ads next to their videos and it turned out there was very little in the way of barriers to getting approved. YouTube’s system also automatically placed ads against content using algorithmic methods, meaning preventing this kind of thing on a case-by-case basis is a relatively difficult, if not impossible, task.
A 10,000 threshold allows a certain level of self-selection — videos that are obscure and offensive enough to never find much of an audience won’t be included, and it also likely narrows by a significant amount the pool of potential cases in need of human review.