YouTube announced on Wednesday that it will suspend monetization for conservative commentator Steven Crowder, who has almost 4 million subscribers, thus preventing him from generating revenue from the advertisements in his videos.
Demonetization means he can still upload his videos and convey his point of view, but YouTube won't allow him to make money doing it.
Crowder's exact annual revenue from monentization is unknown and estimates vary from the tens of thousands of dollars to more than $1 million, according to The Hill.
"Update on our continued review-we have suspended this channel's monetization", YouTube said on Twitter. "We came to this decision because a pattern of egregious actions has harmed the broader community and is against our YouTube Partner Program policies".
Update on our continued review–we have suspended this channel’s monetization. We came to this decision because a pattern of egregious actions has harmed the broader community and is against our YouTube Partner Program policies. More here: https://t.co/VmOce5nbGy— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) 5 июня 2019 г.
YouTube's current demonetization policy allows the company to pull ad revenue from creators who have caused "lasting damage to the community, including viewers, creators and the outside world". The video hosting platform is notorious for near-absurd demonetizations of videos that don't fit the general concept of a "family friendly channel", which range wildly from swearing and nudity (including video game footage) to making videos about specific topics, like guns (for example, the once-famous gun-focused channel FPS Russia). The platform is also notorious for demonetizing video game reviewers who don't go out of their way to exclude licensed music from video games (for instance, music playing during the end credits).
The decision regarding Crowder was the culmination of a conflict between the conservative commentator and Carlos Maza, a journalist from Vox Media — a left-wing media outlet that mixes educational material with politically charged propaganda.
YouTube responded to Maza's Twitter thread, saying they had reviewed Crowder's videos, and while they found his language "hurtful", they concluded that his videos don't violate the platform's policies and thus cannot be banned.
Following YouTube's announcement, Maza couldn't hide his disappointment.
"So the f*ck what. Basically, all political content gets ‘demonetized'", he tweeted in response, adding that Crowder does not generate most of his income from ads but rather from the sale of T-shirts with political messages on them. "Demonetizing doesn't work".
The reaction comes despite the YouTube team tweeting that Crowder's monetization will only be reinstated if he removes "the link to his T-shirts".
The concern with #VoxAdpocalypse is how quickly, and without warning, YouTube can remove independent creators' revenue.— Steven Crowder (@scrowder) 5 июня 2019 г.
With #VoxAdpocalypse and YouTube, we just want to know the rules. Fair?— Steven Crowder (@scrowder) 5 июня 2019 г.
On Wednesday, YouTube announced its plans to block thousands of videos and channels that promote "white supremacy and hate", in a move intended to "prevent extremism and hate speech". The company did not elaborate which particular channels fall under this category.