YouTube was among the tech giants that reacted quickly to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak last month. Google's video platform was demonetizing all videos related to the virus. According to the company, the decision was in line with its sensitive events policy. Now, the company has done a U-turn and will begin monetizing coronavirus videos again.
In February, YouTube said the sensitive events policy stops content creators from advertising for topics that discuss “a loss of life, typically as a result of a pre-planned malicious attack”. Coronavirus seemingly fell under the content that is not advertiser friendly.
Today, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced in a blog post monetization will return to coronavirus-related videos soon.
“We know many of you have had questions about our sensitive events policy, which currently does not allow monetization if a video includes more than a passing mention of the coronavirus. Our sensitive events policy was designed to apply to short-term events of significant magnitude, like a natural disaster. It's becoming clear this issue is now an ongoing and important part of everyday conversation, and we want to make sure news organizations and creators can continue producing quality videos in a sustainable way.”
While ads will be restored, the CEO says monetization will only be available for channels like news outlets and creators who are clear about their reporting transparency.
This limitation will be in place for a couple of weeks. YouTube will expand the returning monetization to more creators thereafter. Wojcicki said the company is committed to halting the spread of misinformation about COVID-19.
For example, videos including “those that discourage people from seeking medical treatment or claim harmful substances have health benefits”.