YouTube cracks down on fake news channels with ad changes

By Allen Cone  |  April 6, 2017 at 8:39 PM
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April 6 (UPI) -- YouTube announced Thursday it is cracking down on fake news channels by no longer placing advertising on them until they've reached 10,000 overall views.

YouTube, which is owned by Alphabet Inc., also the parent company of Google, announced changes after several big companies pulled their advertising from the company because their ads were appearing with objectionable content.

The online video service said the changes are designed to make sure channels are legitimate and not stealing content.

"We will no longer serve ads on YPP videos until the channel reaches 10K lifetime views," Ariel Bardin, vice president of product management, said in a statement. "This new threshold gives us enough information to determine the validity of a channel. It also allows us to confirm if a channel is following our community guidelines and advertiser policies. By keeping the threshold to 10K views, we also ensure that there will be minimal impact on our aspiring creators. And, of course, any revenue earned on channels with under 10K views up until today will not be impacted."

YouTube is also adding a review process for creators to join the YouTube Partner Program, which began in 2007.

"After a creator hits 10K lifetime views on their channel, we'll review their activity against our policies," Bardin said. "If everything looks good, we'll bring this channel into YPP and begin serving ads against their content. Together these new thresholds will help ensure revenue only flows to creators who are playing by the rules."

The company, in an effort to help creators reach 10,000, will offer tips on "making great original content and growing your audience."

"We want creators of all sizes to find opportunity on YouTube, and we believe this new application process will help ensure creator revenue continues to grow and end up in the right hands," Bardin said.

In the past, the open-ended policy allowed amateur video creators to earn money and some work became viral and earned a considerable amount.

Several advertisers, including Walmart, General Motors, JPMorgan Chase, Pepsico, Starbucks and Johnson & Johnson, pulled out of YouTube after their ads appeared in extremist hate-speech videos.

On March 24, the head of the Association of National Advertisers, which represents 1,000 companies that spend more than $250 billion in marketing and advertising each year, urged Google to change its policy.

"ANA strongly believes that brand safety is of paramount importance to our members," Bob Liodice said in statement. "The current crisis is representative of the issues that ANA — and others — have raised with respect to fraud and risk, reduced transparency, sub-optimum measurement and nebulous productivity."

YouTube didn't say how many accounts would be affected by the change.

Advertisers pay roughly $7 to $12 for 1,000 views and creators split the money with YouTube, The Wall Street Journal reported.

"What we do is, we match ads and the content, but because we source the ads from everywhere, every once in a while somebody gets underneath the algorithm and they put in something that doesn't match," Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt said last month in an interview with Fox Business Network.

YouTube has more than a billion users and as of last July, it had paid out $2 billion to rightsholders, the company said on its website.

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