Videos from YouTube's most popular channels are to be subject to human review, as the Google platform attempts to use advertising money to reign in content producers following a series of scandals.
For the first time, the company will be pre-emptively reviewing large swaths of its content to ensure it meets "ad-friendly guidelines," raising the bar for video creators who wish to run adverts on their content, while hoping to allay advertiser unease about the video-sharing website following scandals such as Logan Paul's video of a dead body.
Advertisers can choose to focus adverts on channels verified as "Google Preferred." It is those channels, the company says, that "will be manually reviewed and ads will only run on videos that have been verified to meet our ad-friendly guidelines."
"We expect to complete manual reviews of Google Preferred channels and videos by mid-February in the US and by the end of March in all other markets where Google Preferred is offered," the company said.
For creators, changes will hit the YouTube Partner Program (YPP), which recruits popular creators and gives them better tools for promoting their work and engaging with fans, as well as the option of receiving a cut of the advertising revenue earned from their videos on the site.
Previously, creators could join YPP if they had more than 10,000 views over the lifetime of their activity on the site. Now, however, they will need 1,000 subscribers to their channel, and a total of 4,000 hours of video viewed over the previous 12 months.
The move means some creators face losing a valuable source of income, but YouTube says that the majority of those affected by the stricter rules were making little money from adverts in the first place.
In a blogpost written by two YouTube executives, chief product officer Neal Mohan and chief business officer Robert Kyncl, the company said that "99% of those affected were making less than $100 per year in the last year, with 90% earning less than $2.50 in the last month."
YouTube has been facing advertiser unease because of a series of negative stories over the past few months noting the disturbing quality of many videos aimed at children, linking the site to child endangerment, and highlighting the questionable media ethics of some of the largest creators on the platform.
Logan Paul, a celebrity video blogger with 15 million followers, prompted YouTube to pare back its commercial relationship with him after he drew public outrage for showing a suicide victim in a clip.
© 2018 Guardian Web under contract with NewsEdge/Acquire Media. All rights reserved.
Image credit: iStock/Artist's Concept.