YouTube has announced a reversal in its policies regarding the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. A few weeks ago, YouTube demonetized all videos that included more than "a passing mention" of the coronavirus. That decision didn't go down well with the creator community and YouTube is changing its stance now.
YouTube will allow ads on some videos discussing coronavirus, CEO Susan Wojcicki said in a blog post on Wednesday. Monetization will roll out to select news partners and creators first.
To start with, YouTube will enable ads for creators who "accurately self-certify" their videos. Monetization will expand to more creators and news organizations in the coming weeks.
YouTube will allow monetization of videos about coronavirus
YouTube's advertising guidelines prevent monetization of videos that discuss "sensitive events" such as mass shootings, terrorist acts, tragic events, and global health crises. The policy is meant to protect advertisers from being associated with such videos.
The novel coronavirus was also declared a sensitive topic. YouTube defined the outbreak as a recent event with a loss of life. As such, videos discussing coronavirus are not suitable for advertising.
By doing so, YouTube could also put a curb on bogus videos that make false claims of a cure or spread harmful misinformation that may mislead users. However, the ban on monetization means that legit outlets covering the topic responsibly were also not able to generate revenue from their videos.
The creator community was unsurprisingly unhappy with YouTube's decision, as coronavirus news became the main coverage area for many creators.
YouTube had to eventually walk this fine line. The company is now reversing its policy will enable ads for content discussing the coronavirus on select channels.
"It's becoming clear this issue is now an ongoing and important part of everyday conversation," Wojcicki said. "We want to make sure news organizations and creators can continue producing quality videos in a sustainable way," she added.
YouTube will also continue its fight against harmful videos about the coronavirus on its platform. If you search for "Coronavirus" or "COVID-19" on YouTube, you'll see a pop-up that directs you to the WHO (World Health Organization) so that you get the most credible and accurate information.
Facebook also recently announced a similar step in its efforts to combat the spread of misinformation about the coronavirus.
"Finding trustworthy content is especially critical as news is breaking, and we'll continue to make sure YouTube delivers accurate information for our users," Wojcicki assured in her letter addressed to Creators and Artists.