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YouTube investing $5 million into creators who aren’t terrible

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Encouraging creators to ‘use their voices to encourage positive social messages’

YouTube sign OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images

YouTube is investing $5 million into its Creators for Change program, the company announced today.

Creators for Change was introduced in September 2016. The program works with specific creators to “amplify their voices to counter hate and promote tolerance.” Juniper Downs, YouTube’s head of public policy, touched upon YouTube’s decision to give positive creators a more stable arena to create videos in a blog post published today.

“In 2018, we are continuing to invest in Creators for Change, including providing production and marketing support with a value of over $5M to diverse voices harnessing the power and scale of YouTube in groundbreaking, positive ways,” Downs said.

YouTube’s decision to invest $5 million comes just months after creators involved with the program spoke about how discouraging it was to see less positive YouTubers earn top views and advertising deals. Sam Saffold, a burgeoning filmmaker and member of Creators for Change, addressed these issues during an event at Tribeca’s TV festival last year.

“It’s disheartening to see those types of streamers earning those types of views,” Saffold said. “They’re the top bowers, and that’s ... it’s just really disheartening. It’s our duty to not promote just the negative, but the positive. There are so many positive YouTubers who don’t get the attention they deserve.”

Downs said the increased investment will be used to encourage more creators to join the program. The idea is for creators to promote a more positive message about social issues, and use YouTube as a platform for more favorable content, putting YouTube in a better spot than it has been in recent months.

“We will engage more creators in the program, arm the wider YouTube community with new tools and education on how to create change, and empower more young people to use their voices to encourage positive social messages,” Downs said.

Downs did not touch upon a crucial conversation occurring in the creator space, and one that people like Saffold are concerned about: monetization.

YouTube recently announced that in order for creators to be accepted into the company’s Partner Program and earn ad revenue for videos, they must have a minimum of 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time accrued in the past 12 months. These changes will go into effect on Feb. 20, and many smaller creators who aren’t considered part of the top-tier group of YouTubers are concerned about their futures.

This has been an issue for Saffold since September, when YouTube’s rules stated that creators must have 10,000 channel views overall to be eligible for the Partner Program.

“I do know many creators that aren’t making the type of videos they want because they’re worried those videos won’t get the attention they deserve because of these blankets in place,” Saffold said at the time. “I’m hoping that in time, the people who are playing around with controversial things are getting the attention they deserve. Views aren’t the most important thing in the world, but they do matter.

“It does send a message to those who want to make interesting, thought-provoking videos but can’t because of the new monetization policy when other streamers have millions of views for other types of videos.”

YouTube’s blog post doesn’t address monetization, but Polygon has reached out to YouTube for further comment. The increased investment in the program is an encouraging sign that YouTube is willing to help smaller creators with a more positive outlook both financially and by highlighting their videos on the site.