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YouTube is Demonetising Ads on Videos that reference the Coronavirus, according to Content Creators

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Jenna Delport
Jenna Delport
I’m a tech writer, world traveller, avocado-eater and dog lover, not always in that order.

The Novel Coronavirus has been a worldwide topic of conversation since the outbreak in 2019 – health experts, media and content creators alike have taken to online platforms to share the latest news on the spread, helpful tips to avoid further infection as well as discuss the global impact of the pandemic.

One almost-surprising way that Corona is having an effect on the tech sphere is YouTube’s decision to demonetize any and all ads placed on content that addresses the outbreak – leaving many content creators disgruntled.

“For today’s video, I won’t be directly commenting on the recent health-related news because A, I am not a health care professional, and B, I don’t need my video demonetized,” says Linus Sebastian, Linus Tech Tips host, in the intro of a recent tech-related video.

And Linus isn’t the only one. Jonathan Downey, creator behind the popular gaming channel Spawn Wave, released a video about the scrapping of the Game Developers Conference (GDC).

“I made up abbreviations to say like CV, but it still gets tagged as unsuitable,” Downey tweeted. “It was in a video about GDC being cancelled, so maybe events affected by coronavirus being talked about can trigger their bot for review as well.”

According to The Verge, this isn’t the first time that YouTube has taken this course of action.

“YouTube has demonetized videos about sensitive subjects in the past. The company’s advertising guidelines state that sensitive topics — usually a recent event with a “loss of life, typically as a result of a pre-planned malicious attack” — are normally not suitable for advertising. These videos are allowed to stay on the platform; they just can’t make money from YouTube’s built-in ad service.”

The platform is said to now consider the coronavirus a sensitive topic – “As such, all videos focused on this topic will be demonetized until further notice,” says Tom Leung, product officer at YouTube.

Edited by Jenna Delport
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