Have you ever heard of the digital ‘Adpocalypse’? It’s already here.
In March, 2017, YouTube announced changes to its automated process for ad placement on its platform and warned its creators that it would begin to ‘demonetize’ videos. These changes included ad-blockers and filters that warn marketers and brands of dubious content. For those creators who may have had some questionable political content, their videos were yanked from the platform altogether.
Some content creators saw their revenue drop by 2/3 of what they were generating. According to web forums on the issue, YouTube maintains that they are simply working out some procedural policy issues for their advertisers. They also insist their content creators have always been able to appeal videos that may get flagged, if they believe they should not have been, however, with its recent changes, the official channel for appeal is often unavailable.
YouTube has an extensive sphere of influence, with 400 videos being uploaded to the platform every minute. They use a machine learning system to differentiate comments or humor from hate speech for instance, but it does not necessarily account for its context. This of course, lends itself to creators calling this a form of censorship. Anything deemed ‘not advertiser friendly’ (violence, drug use, sexual humor and/or controversial subjects) can hit a content creator.
For example, a news show on YouTube that is simply reporting the news, as would a network like CNN, may see their video yanked for uttering the word ‘church bombings’, even if the context was to report and explain. As was the case with the ‘David Packman Show’, a political commentary show that must adhere to FCC content rules as it also airs on radio. Half of his revenue to produce the show comes from advertisers, after the ‘adpocalypse’ hit, his 20k per month fell as low as 6 cents per day. Content creators are subject to the impulse of YouTube’s algorithm that is for sure, however, it is partially also about people being sensitive to ‘bad press’, and speaks to the public misinterpretation of the value of digital creators.
YouTube was once considered the safe place for independent content creators to create original and interesting work, for that to continue and not implode, it must properly streamline its ad blocking system so as not to punish the controversial for the truly contemptible.
Over the years, as the digital landscape continues to climb, we have seen the consolidation and buyout of small upstarts and independent blogs by bigger companies. Google (which own YouTube) and Facebook are now the dominant behemoths of digital advertising. It is imperative that a discussion surrounding the power of algorithm changes and how they affect content creators whose videos are monetized by digital advertisers, be addressed.
Green Life Media is on board with its content creators and seek more to empower their freedom of expression rather than filter it. The robotic nature of a machine learning system, although helpful to a large company, can never replace the correspondence and communication with real people over any ‘offensive’ subject matter, particularly to its own content creators. It is important to take that into consideration, as creative content cannot truly thrive under this type of scrutiny and restriction.
Green Life Media will help people monetize again, without fear of being shut down. HOW?
Green Life is looking for contributors and submissions –