In the recent years, the media frequently cover scandals that happened because YouTube content wasn’t moderated thoroughly enough. With the rapid growth of the platform, its responsibility towards the viewer also grows, which leads to stricter rules regarding publishers and their content. Elena Arakelyan and Petr Khomenko from Genesis Media explain YouTube rules for creators.

At the end of 2017, American top blogger Logan Paul published a video about the infamous Aokigahara, Japanese ‘suicide forest’ (you have probably guessed what it is famous for). The shocking video showed a body of a man who had allegedly ended his life.

An edited video complete with Paul’s inappropriate comments was successfully posted on the blogger’s YouTube channel and reached several million views before it was taken down.

The first to criticize the YouTube star were the viewers, and as a result Paul deleted the material himself and publicly apologized for it. Even after the video was deleted, the Internet users continued raging about it, and among other things they also criticized YouTube that is responsible for content moderation. The users were especially outraged about the lack of age restrictions in the video, since it could have easily traumatized Logan’s young audience.

Soon, the representatives of the platform announced they deleted Paul Logan’s videos from Google Preferred, an exclusive monetization platform, as well as further negative consequences for the blogger.

This incident became another reason for the video hosting service to review their rules, and most importantly — ensure that people adhere to them.

1. Gambling advertisement is not allowed

Until the end of 2018, many bloggers in Ru-segment earned on advertising bookmaker’s companies, asking viewers to go to certain websites and make bets.

Betting epidemic reached a scary scale, that’s why YouTube management made the decision to stricten the rules regarding direct and native advertising of such services. The changes impacted a great number of publishers including a multi-million viewer channel Versus Battle that was temporarily blocked for violations.

2. Child endangerment through content is not allowed

At the end of 2019, YouTube paid a record fine of $170 million for collecting personal data of children without their parents’ content and launching of targeted advertising based on this data. After that, YouTube presented an even more extensive set of rules on content for children (and this is the longest list in the website’s policies).

Except for obviously dangerous actions towards children, the author of a children’s channel may be punished for having a child host eat too much sweets on camera, as other children may have health problems when they imitate their idol.

So that the parents could control what their child watches, all content on YouTube is divided into two segments: regular (for users over 13) and YouTube Kids with the corresponding functions. 

On channels outside the children’s segments all publishers are obliged to indicate whether their content has age restrictions.

3. Bullying is not allowed

YouTube is serious about bullying. It means that any direct or indirect threats, ridicule, mistreatment or encouragement of misconduct may lead to a video or an entire channel being blocked.

For instance, if we upload a video with ‘abuse’ in the title on any of our channels, it automatically loses monetization.

4. Violation of copyright is not allowed

The main instrument to protect from stealing of content is the CID (Content ID) system. This function allows rights holders to identify their material on YouTube and manage it: the system allocates a unique digital footprint to the video when it is uploaded. If somebody reuploads or uses part of your content in their video, you can apply to the ‘thief’ any of the policies that YouTube offers (delete a video, monetize views, or monitor indicators).

Only large channels have a possibility to activate CID, primarily passing a detailed check to confirm the uniqueness of their content.

5. Violation of the rules of monetization of content is not allowed

We all heard about Forbes ratings that have already started to include bloggers whose income is generated to a great extent because of monetization of videos on YouTube. However, in order for your content to be monetized, it should by no means include cruelty, violence, interactions with alcohol, tobacco products, and firearms. And this is only 10% of the list of restrictions.

If something is wrong with your video, YouTube will surely let you know.

In the years that we have worked with the platform creating content as part of our news vertical in the markets of Nigeria, Kenia, and Ghana, we have learnt some important lessons.

We gathered all the experience that we have and launched our partner network for news channels in Ukraine (Genesis MCN). It offers Genesis additional functions as a YouTube partner. For instance, it is much easier for channels that are part of the partner network to obtain the above-mentioned Content ID function compared to when they directly interact with the platform.

Now, we are at the final stage of negotiations with several large representatives of Ukrainian media on connecting their channels to Genesis MCN. Given such rapid growth of the platform, the authors themselves understand that the rules will only become stricter. They want to continue working on content and not worry about anything else, while we take upon us to protect their interests.