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Harsher punishments could be coming for YouTube creators, CEO says

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Those who ho break the rules ‘can damage the reputation and revenue of your fellow creators’

Logan Paul YouTube/Logan Paul

YouTube is working toward issuing harsher punishments for creators who shine a negative light on the entire creator community, company CEO Susan Wojcicki says.

Wojcicki published a post on YouTube’s Creators blog Thursday night, outlining her main goals for the creator community in 2018. These include addressing transparency, audience engagement, creator support, monetization and problematic users, according to Wojcicki.

The most interesting note, however, pertains to the company’s interest in exploring how to deal with creators who upload and promote disturbing content.

“We’re also currently developing policies that would lead to consequences if a creator does something egregious that causes significant harm to our community as a whole,” Wojcicki said. “While these instances are rare, they can damage the reputation and revenue of your fellow creators, so we want to make sure we have policies in place that allow us to respond appropriately.”

Wojcicki said that YouTube is working with “dozens of expert advisors and third-parties” for counsel on these new policy initiatives. In addition, the platform will continue to use machine-learning algorithms and a moderation team of 10,000 people to prevent unsettling videos from reaching an audience.

The post comes just a few weeks after YouTube had to deal with its biggest controversy of 2018 thus far: Logan Paul. Paul, one of the most popular creators on the platform, with more than 16 million subscribers, uploaded a video on Dec. 31, 2017 that featured the body of a man who recently committed suicide. The video garnered worldwide criticism and led to Paul being dropped from Google Preferred, YouTube’s top-tier ad program. All of Paul’s YouTube Red projects were also put on hold indefinitely.

Wojcicki also acknowledged another major issue in the blog post: demonetization. The issue gained prominence in early 2017, after PewDiePie uploaded a video that contained anti-Semitic language. Advertisers threatened to pull their ads from the platform, causing YouTube to apply stricter criteria for monetizing videos.

The strictest set of requirements yet will be in place by the end of February. Creators will now need to have a minimum of 1,000 subscribers and more than 4,000 hours of accrued watch time in the past 12 months to be eligible for YouTube’s Partner Program. While this won’t affect top channels, there are a number of smaller creators who are worried their videos and channels will no longer qualify for monetization.

Demonetization’s effect on creators is a big concern for the company, however, Wojcicki wrote, and YouTube is looking into new ways to ensure it happens less often.

“While we worked hard this year to provide an appeals system and quicker responses to creators when a video is demonetized, we’ve heard loud and clear that we need a better system,” she said. “We’re currently working on a more accurate solution that includes more human review of your content, while also taking your own input into account (since you know your videos best).”

Wojcicki said the company is working on being more transparent overall with its creators in 2018, engaging more frequently with them and having ongoing conversations about the platform’s biggest issues. The CEO will even start using her own YouTube channel more often as a way to keep creators up-to-date on the site they call home.

“Since I can’t meet with most creators in person, I started a YouTube channel as a way to share my perspective,” she said. “Though I haven’t shared much yet, I plan to use my channel more in 2018 to engage with creators and the community.”

The full post can be read on YouTube’s Creators blog.