YouTube is, in some ways, the wild west of video. Anybody can start a channel, and, if they gather enough followers to their cause, can even turn posting videos to YouTube into a career. Some of the followings the site gathers can be baffling from the outside, but they’re real audiences worth real money. Until, apparently, YouTube decided that they weren’t.
In the last few days, YouTubers have reported that the site is “demonetizing” posted videos which violate its terms of service. The videos are still up and can still be watched, but the channel that posted them isn’t allowed to make money off of them. That can, potentially, be utterly devastating for a YouTube channel, and, making matters worse, it’s not entirely clear who’s being singled out for demonetization, or why.
YouTube, and its owner Google, have been notorious in the past for poor communication and clumsy execution of its policy. Just recently, a YouTuber who had their clip “borrowed” by Family Guy discovered the site had yanked it as a copyright violation. The appearance of “demonetization” notices, though, has the site’s user base both confused and angry to a degree you rarely see on the site.