1. What the h*ck is it?
The hashtag #YouTubeIsOverParty came about because YouTube updated their Terms Of Service (TOS), changing their policy towards ‘monetisation’ – in other words, the way adverts appear on YouTuber’s videos. Previously, YouTubers would be automatically able to enable adverts on all videos, provided they didn’t have copyrighted material in them. now, however, some videos will not be eligible to have ads placed on them automatically in the first instance. Here’s the weird part though: this is not actually new. YouTube has been doing this to videos for ages – the only difference now is that YouTube is telling people that it’s happened.
2. What kinds of videos are affected?
Here’s the terms as they appear on YouTube’s website:
As you can see, it covers a pretty wide area of topics. Quite a variety of types of videos would be swept up into this net – particularly due to the rules against ‘vulgar language’ and ‘sexual humour’. These videos have been ineligible for ads for years, YouTube is merely just informing people now why they haven’t had ads on them.
3. Who Will Be Affected?
So who exactly is this going to impact?
These changes have affected and will affect a large number of YouTubers; basically anyone who touches on anything that could be considered a ‘controversial’ topic in any way. However, it must be made clear that this doesn’t mean that it’s not possible for these videos to be monetised – it’s just that they won’t be monetised right away.
4. What About Freedom Of Speech?! Freedom Of Speeeeeeeeeech!!!!!
As a private website, YouTube is free to implement whatever terms of service it wants, provided they aren’t literally illegal. The principle of freedom of speech is widely misunderstood and focuses almost wholly on an individual’s ability to say what they wnat without fearing legal consequences. It doesn’t mean that you can say whatever you want, whenever you want to, wherever you to want to, at all times, without consequences. Total freedom of speech doesn’t exist and never has. This cartoon is helpful for making things clear (the asshole part doesn’t apply here though):
The new terms of service don’t actually restrict what content can be uploaded to YouTube, they simply tweak which videos are automatically granted advertising. The reason for this is that while a video about a controversial subject may be excellent and well made, an advertiser may not necessarily want to sponsor it. You can make a gripping, haunting video about terrorism, but that doesn’t mean that a company like Doritos necessarily wants to be associated with it. Similarly, a company like Disney that advertises to kids may not want to be associated with a YouTuber who is very lewd or who swears a bunch.
5. So YouTubers Are Complaining About Nothing Then?
Nope. The new terms of service make it even harder for YouTubers to earn a living for their videos. This may make it harder for people who make important (if controversial) videos to continue to do their good work. The whole viewing audience then misses out as a result. It’s an imperfect situation with no clear solution. Though the viewer and the creator should obviously be be encouraged you can’t also force companies to provide advertising money to videos they don’t actually want to advertise on.
6. So All Hope Is Lost Then? YouTube Is Dead?
No. A large part of this update that is largely being ignored is that advertisers still have the freedom to choose who they wish to advertise on. The entire point of the change of TOS was to provide a more accurate match-up between YouTubers and the brands that advertise with them. This will mean that popular YouTubers will likely still be able to find advertisers and make money. Those who really lose are up-and-coming YouTubers who are looking to be in any way edgy.
7. BUT HERE’S THE GOOD PART
This topic has been widely misunderstood. YouTube is not bringing in new rules which restrict what you can monetise. It is merely explaining why it has never monetised certain videos. It is also now offering an appeal process whereby YouTubers can apply to have this automatic rejection turned off. By most reports a lot of youTubers are winning their appeals, too. This means that YouTubers are having videos monetised now that previous weren’t. So, rather paradoxically, people are actually getting more ad money out of this system of restriction, than they did before. It’s definitely all not as doom and gloom as people think.
8. There is another bright side too
You may well not be aware of it because you’re likely a nice person but there is actually a multitude of channels on YouTube that are racist, sexist, homophobic, misogynistic who actually have both large audiences (depressingly) and who are able to therefore earn money off their hatred through adsense. These kinds of videos are far less likely to win their appeal against monetisation being turned off – because what company would want to advertise on some fascist nonsense? You may argue that people have the freedom to have hateful opinions – and they do – but they don’t have a right for advertisers to support those views with cash. Sorry bigots! Deal with it!