YouTube has dialed back its controversial monetization policy regarding profanity

By 03/08/2023
YouTube has dialed back its controversial monetization policy regarding profanity

If you host a YouTube channel and have the mouth of a sailor, then a recent policy update should have you singing a merry sea shanty. The leading video platform has reversed a controversial change it instituted last November. Instead of demonetizing videos that feature curse words in their first seven seconds, YouTube will allow creators to make money on content that includes “moderate profanity.”

The about-face was confirmed through a post on the YouTube Help forum. “We heard concerns from creators that the new profanity policy actually resulted in a stricter approach than we intended,” reads the post. High-profile complaints came from notable names like Moist Cr1TiKaL and ProZD, who argued that YouTube’s cuss crackdown was overly strict, unfairly applied to old videos, and poorly communicated to the creator community.

To make amends, YouTube will now allow monetization on videos with bad language. Even if a creator uses “stronger profanity,” such as the f-word, they will still be able to run “limited ads.” YouTube will also take a more lenient approach to foul-mouthed background music. Videos featuring those tracks will retain full monetization rights. Before this update, all of those cases would have resulted in demonetization.


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Creators may still see yellow or red dollar signs if bad words recur “repetitively” throughout their videos. YouTube has also clarified that videos with profane titles or thumbnails will remain ineligible for ad revenue.

An update on YouTube’s Creator Insider channel reiterated the profanity policy updates while also providing a more elaborate justification for the initial, controversial change. Since new ads regularly appear on old videos, YouTube had to ensure that past content met its present-day guidelines. Or, as stated in the Creator Insider video: “We need to make sure that ratings even on older videos are consistent with current policy.”

Despite the need for that protocol, YouTube plans to do a better job of keeping creators up-to-date moving forward. Policy changes will be communicated through Creator Insider, the Help forum, and the landing page for advertiser-friendly content guidelines. Videos that were demonetized due to the November change will be reviewed by March 10, and in many cases, creators will be able to restore lost revenue streams.

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