Should Creators Join Philip DeFranco’s #YouTubeIsOverParty?

The hashtag YouTubeIsOverParty is trending on Twitter in response to a video posted yesterday by Philip DeFranco, decrying the video hosting platform’s apparent change in the enforcement of its content policy that led to approximately 40 of his videos to be stripped of their monetization capabilities earlier in the week.

“I don’t think that I can call you beautiful bastards anymore because apparently that and several other things I do are not ‘advertiser friendly,’” said DeFranco in the video.

It’s not DeFranco’s first clash with YouTube over its content policy. The Google-owned company temporarily took down a video DeFranco posted last November in which he called out fellow YouTubers including Roman Atwood for their allegedly fake pranks.

While allowing that YouTube was well within its rights to do what it wants with “their damn web site,” DeFranco — whose channel has more than 4.54 million subscribers and 1.64 billion views — called it “censorship with a different name, because if you do this on the regular and you have no advertising, it’s not sustainable.”

In response, a YouTube spokesperson said, “While our policy of demonetizing videos due to advertiser-friendly concerns hasn’t changed, we’ve recently improved the notification and appeal process to ensure better communication to our creators,” as YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki promised during her VidCon keynote address in June.

Previously, creators had to check the analytics of individual videos to see if they were demonetized. With the update currently being rolled out, they will receive an email notifying them when a video has been demonetized, and a yellow dollar sign ($) will appear next to the video title on their Video Manager page, along with the message “not advertiser-friendly.” If creators wish to appeal the demonetization, they can simply click on the dollar icon.

A source said it’s likely that DeFranco’s videos have been demonetized before, he just didn’t notice.

Sam Toles, head of global content and distribution for competing hosting platform Vimeo — which doesn’t run ads against its videos — said that while he believes YouTube is trying to be transparent in its dealings with creators, the controversy speaks to a broader issue.

“Programming is getting edgier and more interesting, and when you have a platform like YouTube that is so highly dependent on ad revenue and disruptive advertising, you really stifle creativity,” said Toles. “Advertisers are either going to figure out that they need to be more permissive and less restrictive on creative freedom, or the best creators… are going to move away from them.”

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