After punishing one of its fastest-growing creators this week, Google is reportedly planning on scrutinizing YouTube videos that are part of its most lucrative advertising program. According to a Bloomberg report, Google will begin vetting YouTube videos in the Google Preferred ad program, which Google uses to sell advertisements on the most popular YouTube channels at higher rates. In turn, creators with channels in Google Preferred get a better cut of the advertising revenue than those on Google’s lower-tier advertising programs.
Google’s plan isn’t much different from previous plans for policing the majority of videos on YouTube. The company will use the combined forces of its 10,000 human moderators and artificial intelligence software to identify videos posted by the biggest channels that violate YouTube’s guidelines and are not suitable for advertisements.
Videos that are part of Google Preferred have always been governed by YouTube’s general Community Guidelines and posting rules that define offensive and unacceptable content. But a number of videos posted by popular accounts have fallen through the cracks recently, including Logan Paul’s “suicide forest” video.
Paul, a creator with 15 million subscribers, posted a video featuring a dead human body at the very end of 2017. The video eventually amassed millions of views and landed on YouTube’s Trending page before Paul removed it amidst backlash from the community. This week, after a few initial statements regarding the issue, YouTube removed Paul’s channel from Google Preferred and put his Originals projects on hold..
It’s currently unclear how the most popular YouTubers will be affected by this change, and if any will speak out if and when their channels experience flagging, demonetization, or other actions from YouTube. Creators large and small have called out YouTube on its murky communication in the past, and they’ve expressed frustration when videos have been demonetized for unknown reasons.
While YouTube cast its net far and wide with new content regulations introduced last year after the ad-pocalypse, now the company seems to want to zero in on the most popular channels as their videos typically get the most views. In the past, there has been a lot of controversy and speculation surrounding how videos get chosen for YouTube’s Trending page as well as its “recommended” and “what’s next” suggestions, and it’s possible that, with this new vetting, Google could influence what makes “popular” YouTube content even more than before.