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Last sync:2018-06-01 18:20

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I'm angry today. To give a quick summary of the situation regarding demonetization on YouTube, there are advertisers in the world who don't want to advertise on anything that might be the least bit controversial and so YouTube created a thinky machine that decides for advertisers like, what is the box of stuff that has nothing controversial in it?

So basically no discussion of anything that might by anyone in the world be considered controversial. That includes, like, news in some extent. In fact when I upload videos now I'm inside of a beta that lets me rank for myself whether the video contains something that advertisers might be concerned about and tell them exactly what that is. Usually on vlogbrothers it's nothing.

But if it was this video, I'd have to say that it has something to do with current events and some, some advertisers might not want to be involved with current events. They just want you to feel happy while you're getting the brand message. Just have a feeling of joy, while you also see this logo, and then you'll buy it the next time you're at the store.

Seriously, they've done research.

I... understand this, I guess, because YouTube is just trying to make it work, and advertisers are used to the old way where to be clear, this was the only way it ever worked.

You knew what you were buying when you were a buyer of advertising back in the day, because you were buying SpongeBob Square-Pants or Anderson 63... scooper (laughs). That was not on purpose. Or you were buying Roseanne, or you were buying Modern Family.

You knew what you were buying and now, on YouTube, you don't know what you were buying. And for a long time, we got away with people not knowing what they were buying until some people were like, "Hey, I saw a Coke ad on this terrorist recruitment video. Maybe there's a problem.", and some people say,

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"Those journalists, they messed it up for everybody!"

I say, "Well, maybe there shouldn't be Coke ads on terrorist recruitment videos." But, solving that problem turns out to have been a big dang mess.

Now, demonetization has gotten better. There are a lot of YouTube creators, myself included, who - our ad rates are higher than they once were. They're higher than they were before demonetization happened.

But if you make anything that might be considered the least bit controversial say you're Phil DeFranco. Say you're... Chase Ross, who makes content about. LGBTQ stuff, then you're getting demonetized all the time. And That is a bummer because it seems like - why? On Earth? Would you demonetize something that's like, "The History of Great Lesbians"? Just great lesbians in history. Here's some - here are some lesbians who were dope!

And then YouTube's like, "Oh, I'm not so sure about this. We don't, like, we don't know why the algorithm just said that it was bad. We don't know why, we don't get it. It's all - it's a computer making its own dec-" ugh, gah.

So, that's the situation and. Chase uploaded a video two times - one with "transgender" in the title, one without and the one without "transgender" in the title got monetized immediately. The other one was put in the yellow, the yellow icon bucket, which is limited-to-no monetization.

So, it's not clear whether that's no monetization, or whether that's just like for the advertisers who have paid extra to not be involved with anything at all... we're not going to put ads on it. But it probably is that - that first one, that or that second one; that people will be able to advertise on it. It's just, like, not everybody. People kind of have to "special request" this bucket that's probably gonna be lower CPMs and, and worse advertisements to be frank.

And also, it turns out - so this, this is all well-known bullshit that YouTube has... been trying and saying that they're fixing, but, puh...

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Doesn't seem that way. Um, it seems like if you put words like "gay", "LGBTQ+", "transgender", "lesbian" in titles and tags, your video is more likely to get demonetized. Why? We're leaving to the side and saying that there's a computer making a bad decision, and hopefully this is something that YouTube wants to fix.


But! Then! Second thing, bigger thing, new thing!

So you could take a YouTube video - this is actually how advertising on YouTube works: You upload the video to YouTube. It could be a public video on your YouTube channel and then you tell YouTube that you want that to run as a pre-roll against certain kinds of content.

People are now doing this with anti-gay anti LGBTQ+ content, throwing it up on specifically content from LGBTQ+ YouTubers.

Are they doing this because they want to, to freak people out and be like, "well, fine. I, like - now I feel like this is an antagonistic place and I don't feel comfortable on this platform"? Maybe.

Are they doing this because they want to reach people who are vulnerable and who are looking for support in a time of need? Almost definitely!

Like, This. Is. Despicable. And gross and disgusting. And I hate it so much, and it is a thing that is happening right now. They're taking their, their hateful advertisements, and putting them up on pro, like supportive, prideful, loving content on YouTube.

(angry sigh). Welcome to Pride Month, you guys.

So, I've seen two of these in the last two days, one is from the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is an organization that is, like a legal organization- It's like the ACLU but like, the Bad Place version, where they try and get people off the hook for not serving gay people at their... places of business,.

They defended Hobby Lobby. They also have gone to other countries and tried to get laws passed that make homosexuality illegal,

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so people can go to jail for "homosexual acts", and...

So they're - you know, they're really quite specific about how they feel about homosexuality which is that it's a public health menace and that it's... damaging spiritually and psychologically and all this jazz...

So they're defined by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group. Are they? Kind of, certainly in other countries they are, trying to get people locked up for having, uh, gay sex.

But in America, they're trying to defend freedom by, uh... allowing people to... So like, the video that they're showing in front of, you know, as an advertisement, basically saying like "Look, it's so sad that this woman got sued because she wouldn't serve a gay person. She wouldn't make flowers for the gay couple's wedding. And isn't that sad and let's make this all muddy and not a matter of the law", which is that you can't discriminate against people at your business because of their sexual orientation.

That's the law, you can't do it. And if it's against your beliefs you either have to decide whether you are a Christian first or an American first, because you have to decide whether the rule of your Bible wins out over the rule of your country. And...

That's a hard decision for some people... I imagine, but like. Ultimately the law of the country wins. And we know that over and over again. And if you wanted this to be a nation run by religious law... Then you have not read the Constitution.

The other video is from a guy who is a preacher. Probably? Something like that, he seems... seems like a preacher guy and he's basically saying that he has the ultimate take on what Christianity is, and that Christianity is incompatible with homosexuality and you know this because he... is right. You can tell, 'cause of his mustache!

These videos would be yellow mark demonetized,

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because they deal with controversial topics, but you can buy - like, YouTube doesn't care if you buy the access to the eyeballs. YouTube cares if you're selling the access to the eyeballs. So advertisers are the ones in control.

So, if I want to pay YouTube money I can get my video in front of people. Because it's not hateful, it's just, like, presenting the perspective of a woman who didn't want to sell flowers to a gay couple. And, and it's presenting the perspective of a guy who's pretty - who's not pretty sure - absolutely certain, that homosexuality is incompatible with Christianity.

So, these people are... Are they, are they.. What hate speech are they preaching? And this is, you know, this is a thing that is very difficult. Because this is obviously like the, the sort of prettied up version of hate, and it's just like, "here's what the Bible says" and just like "I want to create art but not for everyone" and so it's all shiny, shined up hate, and, and where that line is becomes really muddy.

And YouTube wants there to be a line that they can draw and have people - and also the government - not be able to say like, "okay, well, you are drawing a line specifically to exclude conservative voices."

And that is an actual real legal problem, that YouTube has to have these policies that can be enforced across the political spectrum, but this gets really weird when part of... the ideology of these videos is... comes from a place of hate, right? Like it's shined up, it's pretty. It's like, "look, I'm just a guy who's telling you what the Bible says."

Is that.. gonna be alright? So. YouTube. One: Figure this out! Please!

Don't just... Just. If you can-

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NOT monetize videos that are controversial, you can also not show them to my audience.

You can not, like, please - like, do not sell these things. Like, I do not want these people's money. Do not sell their BS to my people because this is like - there's not a lot that makes me like, "YouTube, I don't want to do it anymore." Like all, like every controversy over the years I've always been like, "But really, this is where I live, this is my home." But this is poison in the well.

This - this makes me feel like if - if I knew that regularly, that kind of video was coming up ahead of my content specifically because I'm making videos for young people who are questioning their sexuality, who are questioning their gender, who are dealing with really difficult, painful things that - and knowing that. Like, they're going to come to this video to have a supportive moment, and instead they're gonna feel like the... (pained sigh).

There should be a higher standard for advertisements than there is for content. And if your lawyers are telling you that you can't do this without getting sued by the US government, or... by the Dark Place ACLU, then... at least give me the option to not have ANY political or controversial ads on my content at all.

If you can give that option to advertisers and say, "okay, you don't want to advertise on content that might be about sexuality", you can give that option to creators, and say, "we don't want to have advertisements that have anything to do with political campaigns, with like, anything to do with politics", and that way you're not saying - it's not a line that excludes "conservative voices." 

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It's a line that excludes any and all of this stuff. Give us that power.

I know that maybe within AdSense somewhere, not on the YouTube platform, there might be a button that might do this? But I've tried and I'm not entirely sure that it works...

Put it on YouTube. Give me that button. Allow me to do the same thing that you are doing for advertisers. Allow me to not take the money of people that I think are... like, intentionally trying to hurt people. Please. Because otherwise there is poison in this water and I don't know how I'm gonna feel about this platform if this is a thing that not only continues, but grows. So fix it.

And I'm so sorry to all the people who are dealing with this right now. If you can, watching this, if you are a person who wants to support those people, go support them on Patreon? Maybe they can turn off advertisements forever because that is the only way that I would feel comfortable making content on this platform right now.

And if you're a YouTuber who's dealing with this, first of all: I'm, I'm so sorry. I can't imagine how that has to feel. And second, leave a comment telling people about you down in the comments there and... drop a venmo link!