After a rough 2017 where YouTube was boycotted by advertisers and roundly criticized for having its ads pop up in hateful videos, including those uploaded by terrorist sympathizers and white supremacists, the company has announced tighter rules for its YouTube Partners Program. Previously, channels only needed ten thousand views on their videos to qualify. Now, according to a post on the AdWords blog, they will need at least a thousand subscribers, and four thousand hours of their content viewed over the last year. This policy will apply to both new channels as well as existing partners, starting February 20.
The company also announced that it will begin to manually curate Google Preferred, which lists its most popular content. This move comes after Logan Paul, a popular YouTube star, shot a video of himself laughing next to a corpse in a Japanese forest known for being a suicide hotspot. Paul later took the video down and apologized, amid harsh criticism. He was soon removed from the Google Preferred program, and he will not appear on the fourth season of Foursome, a show on YouTube’s premium Red service (completely unrelated to ALT Balaji’s show of the same name).
The company also announced that all content on Google Preferred will be continuously vetted, in addition to being manually curated. “We expect to complete manual reviews of Google Preferred channels and videos by mid-February in the U.S. and by the end of March in all other markets where Google Preferred is offered,” VP of Display, Video & Analytics at Google Paul Muret said in the blog post announcing these changes. The company added that it will give more transparent tools to advertisers to help them understand what kind of videos its ads will be displayed on.
In December, YouTube announced that it would bring the number of employees tasked with content moderation duties, including video screeners, up to ten thousand in 2018.
In other news, incognito and night mode
A teardown of the YouTube app’s latest version shows that it will soon have an incognito mode, as well as a night mode, 9to5Google reported. The incognito mode will allow users to keep their searches and viewing activity private. The development was spotted when an icon similar to that of Incognito Mode in Google Chrome was spotted in the YouTube app’s code. Night mode, on the other hand, will just give the app a dark theme, which is already on YouTube’s desktop browser version. Other minor UI tweaks include a ‘swipe to skip ads’ function, which would replace the current system of tapping an icon on the bottom right.