YouTube demonetised Shane's conspiracy series for the weirdest reason

1 February 2019, 12:04

Shane Dawson demonetised conspiracy series
Picture: YouTube: Shane Dawson
Benedict Townsend

By Benedict Townsend

Shane Dawson's much-hyped 'Conspiracy Series' has fallen foul of YouTube's controversial demonetisation systems.

The first video of the series, which amassed a stunning 15 million views in just 24 hours, had all of its YouTube ads removed by YouTube not long after it was posted. The video then stayed demonetised for 12 whole hours, before the YouTube team reviewed the video and determined that the video could be monetised again.

Was it demonetised because it's about conspiracies?

YouTube recently announced that it would be taking a harder line on certain kinds of video content - including videos that promote certain conspiracy theories.

When Shane's video was first demonetised, therefore, many assumed that it was because it is all about conspiracies. However, that is not the case. It turns out it happened because the video - very briefly - shows some footage of a dangerous prank, another type of video that YouTube has recently blacklisted.

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As the video does not actually promote dangerous pranks, merely show them for a moment, the YouTube team (eventually) deemed that Shane's video was safe for advertisers (how kind of them!)

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A YouTube spokesperson told The Verge: “To show ads, videos must comply with our Advertiser-Friendly Guidelines. Sometimes we get it wrong when determining whether a video is suitable for advertising, so we encourage creators to appeal for a review if they think there’s been an error. We work quickly to restore advertising as soon as we’re made aware of a mistake.”

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The Verge also estimates that Shane might have lost as much as $14,000 in lost YouTube advertising money for that 12 hour period. This was the period of time when the video had just come out, the prime time for viewers, and basically the worst possible time for ads to be taken off.

Luckily for Shane, he had already secured the bag sponsors for his video, so he didn't end up too much out-of-pocket.