A group of former YouTube moderators have spoken to the Washington Post, revealing that big-name creators like Logan Paul, PewDiePie and Steven Crowder got special treatment when they broke the rules.
YouTube is known for “demonetising” channels that feature hateful or offensive content, removing advertisements from them and thereby stripping the creators of their ad revenue. Exceptions, however, are made for the above big names and others like them.
While it’s not surprising that YouTube would want to look after it biggest stars, as it relies on the advertising revenue that their videos help to generate, it’s still pretty surprising to see these things laid out by people who were actually involved.
The Post spoke anonymously to eleven current and former YouTube mods, who said that their “recommendations to strip advertising” from big names were frequently overruled “when the videos involved higher-profile content creators who draw more advertising.”
One former moderator told the publication that they started working at YouTube with a sense of great idealism, but quickly became disillusioned. “Our responsibility was never to the creators or to the users,” they said, “it was to the advertisers.”
All three YouTubers mentioned above have had their channels demonetised at various points. Paul became notorious when he filmed a dead body at a Japanese suicide forest, but only temporarily lost ad privileges months later, when he filmed himself tasering a rat.
Another moderator said that YouTube’s inconsistent approach felt like a “slap in the face”, adding: “You’re told you have specific policies for monetisation that are extremely strict. And then Logan Paul broke one of their biggest policies and it became like it never happened.”