Hey creators! Today I wanted to provide you with an update on how the ongoing pandemic is impacting YouTube - there’s a couple things you should know.
First and anecdotally, you may actually notice an increase in views and engagement over the next few weeks (or a decrease, depending on your audience) as viewers have more time at home during these lockdown and quarantine times, so more time is spent on media consumption. Entertain your viewers, give them a nice escape from the stress and anxiety everyone is feeling at the moment. Be kind, rewind.
There’s been some discussion around and a shift in policy regarding content talking about the Coronavirus/COVID-19.
Previously, YouTube’s policy about sensitive events meant that videos talking about or even just mentioning Coronavirus (or even “Beer Flu” in Jon Prosser’s case) would have ads limited or restricted.
However, given the extended duration of this topic and the fact that it affects everyone at this point, Susan Wojcicki announced in a YouTube Creator Blog post last week that YouTube is changing the policies and making other actions to help the community.
First, YouTube’s homepage will help direct users to the WHO and CDC, as well as other worldwide organizations for easy updates regarding the Coronavirus situation. They’re focusing on “raising up authoritative sources” in search and recommendations to help make sure the most accurate and appropriate information is being disseminated. Information panels will be featured on relevant videos with extra info from the WHO regarding the situation. These will also be localized for the viewers.
YouTube will be quickly removing videos that violate policies - including those that discourage viewers from seeking medical treatment or promote harmful substances claiming to have health benefits. Google had actually introduced a policy banning ads which promote anti-coronavirus products, though ads have still been spotted for such products at the start of the month, according to CNBC.
Ultimately, YouTube’s goal here is to promote the most accurate and helpful information, and try to filter out harmful and misleading information.
YouTube is also donating advertising inventory to governments and NGOs in regions impacted by the pandemic, using those ad spaces to spotlight helpful and timely information.
Back to monetization, Wojcicki explained that the “sensitive events policy” was designed to apply only to “short-term events of a significant magnitude” such as a natural disaster, and since the pandemic is now a long-term every day conversation, they’re easing the rules to allow channels to still be able to monetize on content mentioning the Coronavirus, where appropriate. This will be rolled out to creators who regularly follow the guidelines and have a track record of being in good standing.
This was also discussed in a recent Creator Insider video, around the 02:54 timecode.
However, despite this policy shift, creators may notice a lot more false flags and removed content in relation to the Community Guidelines in the next few weeks, as mentioned in a banner in the YouTube Studio.
Detailing this situation more in a blog post, YouTube announced that due to obvious health concerns and workplace requirements, YouTube offices are much less populated at the moment. YouTube is focusing on protecting their staff and keeping them safe, which means allowing employees to stay at home or work from home - including the staff that adds a “human review” element to content flags. During this time, YouTube will be relying more on automated systems to pick up the slack, which may result in more content removals during this time.
Creators can appeal these strikes here - though assessing these appeals will have some delay as well, of course.
Stay safe, everyone! Stay home, don’t go partying or shopping in crowds. Wash your hands, stop touching your face (a struggle for me) and treat each other well! I’ll have more regular updates soon.
Tech educator, '90s and '00s Nostalgia Nerd, Pixel and Framerate Junkie. 12 years on YouTube is a loooong time.