In the wake of the Great Logan Paul Incident of 2017, YouTube is giving power back to the people. Instead of trusting algorithms to screen popular YouTube videos for compliance with advertiser-friendly guidelines, YouTube employees will be responsible for manually reviewing the most lucrative content. New year, new YouTube.
These stringent review policies apply to all videos in YouTube’s “Google Preferred” program. According to a statement released on Tuesday, YouTube will, “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.” If all goes according to plan, YouTube will avoid another PR fiasco by protecting brands from running advertisements on offensive videos.
YouTube is also taking preemptive measures to prevent “bad actors” (read: Logan Paul) from reaching the monetization threshold and joining the YouTube Partner Program. Under the old rules, YouTubers needed 10,000 total views on their channels. Now, channels will need “1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time within the past twelve months to be eligible for ads.”
Channels that had previously accrued ad revenue, but don’t meet both the hour and subscriber requirements, will be removed from the YouTube Partner Program beginning on February 20, 2018. In a second statement on the YouTube Creator Blog, YouTube notes that while many channels will be de-monetized as a result of these changes, “99 percent of those affected were making less than $100 per year in the last year, with 90 percent earning less than $2.50 in the last month.”
Still, it’s an unfortunate turn of events for smaller creators who are now paying the price for Paul’s blunder. Those who meet the watch time requirement, but don’t have enough subscribers are already scrambling to find more, even fishing for subs in the comment section of YouTube’s statement.
For YouTube, there’s an intractable tradeoff between giving creators more freedom and providing advertisers and viewers with a less volatile platform. Logan Paul forced their hand, and now the YouTube community is left with the consequences.