Last month, YouTuber Daniel "RTGame" Condren discovered dozens of his videos had suddenly been demonetized without any explanation. Multiple appeals were rejected, and after finally speaking to a YouTube rep, he was informed that he'd run afoul of recently-enacted policy changes that were being applied retroactively–sometimes to videos as old as 11 years.
At issue were changes YouTube made to its violence and profanity guidelines back in November. The changes made all profanity equal, meaning "crap" was suddenly as offensive as "fuck" to YouTube's censors (although, as noted by Eurogamer, "hell" and "damn" were no longer considered profanities at all). Previously, YouTube had gradients of light, moderate, or extreme profanity, with content creators being able to use limited moderate profanity within the first 30 seconds without having their video demonetized. Now, the rules say there can be no profanity in the first eight seconds. The same goes for violence, which previously didn't apply to in-game violence.
Worst of all, YouTube applied the new rules retroactively, so many videos that were made to correspond with the old rules no longer qualified for full monetization under the new rules. RTGame found their Let’s Play of The Quarry age-restricted alongside many other videos.
And RTGame wasn't alone. MoistCr1TiKaL also found many of his videos demonetized as well, from video games to wholesome news topics where he just happened to say "shit" in the first seven seconds. Criticism has been levied at YouTube for failing to notify content creators and then retroactively applying the rules to videos made before the rules were changed.
"Would've been a lot more palatable if it came from YouTube's mouth as opposed to my ass," said MoistCr1TiKaL in his video announcing the rules changes. " But it is what it is. I am very, very convinced they will never actually communicate policy changes ever. At least, not in any effective manner."
YouTube has thus far declined to comment.
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