The YouTube influencer ecosystem may be in for more upheaval, as the Financial Post is reporting that Google will soon review content on Google Preferred, a selection of top YouTube channels popular among 18-to-34-year-olds that the company offers as "easy-to-buy" advertising options for major brands.
People familiar with the plan told the Financial Post that Google will be using both human moderators and software to flag videos considered inappropriate for advertisers. The planned changes to Google Preferred come in the wake of another scandal around a YouTube content creator, Logan Paul. Late last month, Paul posted a video on his channel documenting a trip he made to Aokigahara, a forest in Japan known as a place where people go to commit suicide. Paul encountered a dead body on his visit to the forest, and included footage of it in the video he posted. Google pulled Paul from its Preferred program this week, and shelved his multiple YouTube Red projects.
The issue of YouTube policing the content of its star creators came to the fore last year after the Wall Street Journal put a spotlight on the tendency of prominent gaming YouTuber Felix "PewDiePie" Kjellberg to use offensive and antisemitic humor. The fallout from that report included Disney-owned Maker Studios dropping Kjellberg and drastically trimming its partner program to family friendly creators. As for YouTube, it cancelled the second season of its YouTube Red original series Scare PewDiePie and removed his channel from Google Preferrred.
Following that and other controversies about ads appearing on racist videos, YouTube allowed advertisers the option of avoiding "higher risk content," videos dealing with touchy subjects like political conflicts, violence, sexually suggestive content, war-related subject matter, and profanity. A number of creators reported monetization of their Call of Duty: World War II videos plummeting in the wake of the controls being introduced. Shortly afterward, YouTube introduced new "advertiser-friendly" guidelines that threatened to demonetize violent game montages on the site.