YouTube’s demonetization problem

YouTubers annoyed at obstacle put in place by YouTube


Aubrey Harrell, Editorial Board

Over the past few months, it’s apparent that the widely popular video sharing platform YouTube has experienced some tribulations regarding both its YouTubers and the website itself. One consistent problem that has been negatively affecting the website’s content creators since around March, is the issue of demonetized videos.


The problem of videos being unfairly demonetized is a problem that has occured for a few years now on YouTube, but the severity of the problem has continued to increased over the last few months. So, what is a demonetized video and why are they affecting YouTubers? When a video is demonetized, this means that the video will not receive ad revenue. This is extremely detrimental to many creators, especially smaller channels, that rely on YouTube for an income. So, what’s the cause for the demonetized videos?


YouTube’s drive to demonetize content their bots deem as sensitive content and not advertiser- friendly began years ago, when companies pulled back their ads on the website after realizing channels promoting terrorism, hate speech, and other harmful topics were having their advertisements on the videos. In order to cease concerns from advertisers, an algorithm was developed to demonetize sensitive content, based on the words and language used in the title. This sounds fine in theory, but lately it’s apparent that the algorithm they used had flaws. While some genuinely harmful videos may have been demonetized, a large amount of the videos were demonetized unfairly and seemingly at random. Many YouTuber’s videos were being demonetized for swearing, others for featuring controversial political topics in their video title, and even innocent content, such as unboxing videos have been demonetized. While understandable that companies may not want to advertise said videos, the demonetization problem has steered many YouTubers away from talking about the sensitive topics that are necessary to talk about, and demonetizing a video because of swearing is leading to censorship, which is unfair to video creators and really has no place on such an open platform such as YouTube.


Another frustration among YouTubers is that the demonetization system isn’t demonetizing the  videos they should. Recently, popular YouTuber Logan Paul released a video of him going into the Aokigahara Forest in Japan, also known as the “Suicide Forest”. In the video, Paul and company travel into the forest where they come across a deceased suicide victim. After the video was uploaded, it even managed to get to YouTube’s trending page, and was receiving ad revenue despite the sensitive subject. The only reason the video was eventually removed was because of the national outrage surrounding it, from creators and viewers alike. Since the videos airing, YouTube has since “downgraded” Paul to a lower level, and his channel will no longer receive the amount of advertisements it previously had. Many have criticized YouTube for not demonetizing the video immediately, while many other YouTube videos are demonetized for seemingly no reason.


To larger YouTubers the demonetization of videos, while frustrating, doesn’t have too much of an effect. Usually within hours on countering the demonetization, the video will be fully monetized again. To smaller YouTubers just starting out, the issue is much more grim. It can take months for smaller channels to refute demonetization claims, and even if their video is monetized again the prime time for views (the first week of the video being uploaded), has passed. The whole process is a hindrance for growing channels, and many content creators have become irritated that their hard work put into the videos has gone to waste.


So, what’s being done to fix this? A recent update from YouTube has said that an updated new and improved algorithm has been released that will result in millions of videos being fully monetized again. The update most likely won’t completely free wrongfully demonetized videos in one sweep, but hopefully in the near future YouTubers won’t have to deal with the tribulations they’re dealing with now.