YouTube bans ‘hateful’ videos from making money via its advertising network

Following a backlash around brand advertising on controversial content, YouTube is making a move to clean up which videos are part of its ad network.

The Google-owned has updated the guidelines that govern which YouTube videos can run ads to prevent previous mismatches and assuage both its community of video makers and advertisers. High-profile YouTubers were up in arms last year after the website determined that some content of the more controversial end of the scale was not suitable for advertising following complaints from brands. The issue spilled over into 2017, after Disney and others cut ties with prolific YouTube star Pew Die Pie over his use of anti-Semitic content in some videos.

“We’ve heard loud and clear from the creator community and from advertisers that YouTube needs to broaden our advertiser-friendly guidelines around a few additional types of content,” Ariel Bardin, YouTube VP of product management, wrote in a blog post.

Chiefly, the video site will not show advertising against “hateful” content that “promotes discrimination or disparages or humiliates an individual or group of people,” it said. Also barred from running ads are videos that involve “family entertainment characters” engaging in inappropriate behavior, and those that carry messages that demean or are incendiary.

Here are the top level details in full:

Hateful content: Content that promotes discrimination or disparages or humiliates an individual or group of people on the basis of the individual’s or group’s race, ethnicity, or ethnic origin, nationality, religion, disability, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other characteristic associated with systematic discrimination or marginalization.

Inappropriate use of family entertainment characters: Content that depicts family entertainment characters engaged in violent, sexual, vile, or otherwise inappropriate behavior, even if done for comedic or satirical purposes.

Incendiary and demeaning content: Content that is gratuitously incendiary, inflammatory, or demeaning. For example, video content that uses gratuitously disrespectful language that shames or insults an individual or group.

To be clear, videos that fall into the categories above will be able to exist on YouTube — so long as they do not infringe the site’s terms and conditions — but the YouTubers behind them simply won’t be able to monetize them via the site’s advertising platform.

As is commonplace when dealing with user-generated content networks of serious scale, we’ll have to wait and see how the policies are enforced to know the practical impact, but it is high time that YouTube took a firm stance on this issue — both for advertisers and content makers.

“While it’s not possible for us to cover every video scenario, we hope this additional information will provide you with more insight into the types of content that brands have told us they don’t want to advertise against and help you to make more informed content decisions,” YouTube’s Bardin wrote.