*Updated on 10/10 at 9:45 am ET with comments from a YouTube spokesperson.
YouTube has found itself in hot water today after demonetizing a video from vlogger Casey Neistat in which he announces his #LoveArmyLasVegas campaign to raise money for injured victims and the families of those killed in the Las Vegas shooting.
Neistat, who had also pledged to donate all ad revenues from the video to the GoFundMe campaign — which has raised roughly $300,000 to date — tweeted his outrage yesterday afternoon, with a subsequent response from the YouTube support team explaining that ads had been removed due to a site-wide policy that demonetizes any videos about tragedies no matter their intent.
Check out the exchange below:
literally a video about charity.. where i state all Adsense is going to that charity.. youtube says NOT SUITABLE FOR ADVERTISERS pic.twitter.com/PBvHFNNuGy
— Casey Neistat (@CaseyNeistat) October 5, 2017
We ❤️ what you’re doing to help, but no matter the intent, our policy is to not run ads on videos about tragedies. — Team YouTube (@TeamYouTube) October 5, 2017
While Neistat retorted that his video was not about the tragedy — it was about his fundraiser — other top-tier creators, including Philip DeFranco and Hank Green, expressed their dismay at the turn of events (see below). DeFranco, who has previously claimed that his videos were being unfairly demonetized, shared an image of a Jimmy Kimmel Live video about the shooting that seemed to serve a pre-roll ad, suggesting that hypocrisy was at work.
A YouTube spokesperson told Tubefilter that the Kimmel ad was “partner-sold.” According to the company’s support website, YouTube has allowed a “small number” of partners with substantial sales teams who distribute ads across multiple platforms — including, presumably, ABC (which owns Jimmy Kimmel Live) — to sell their own ads on YouTube since 2010.
While partner-sold ads can currently show up on videos that YouTube considers unsuitable given that partners are working directly with marketers on placement against specific kinds of content, YouTube says that it’s “currently working to update this program so that such partners cannot sell ads against content that is related to tragedies.” DeFranco updated viewers about his correspondence with YouTube with respect to partner-sold ads in a video posted yesterday (above, beginning at the 11:15-minute mark).
This is by no means the first time that creators have complained about questionable demonetization practices — particularly in the wake of the YouTube ‘Adpocalypse’, which saw the video giant clamping down on where it served ads after marketers were aghast to discover earlier this spring that spots were running against videos promoting extremism and violence.
Get a better policy.
Signed, everyone. https://t.co/49lJhVZcDJ
— Hank Green 🐢 (@hankgreen) October 6, 2017