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YouTube softens profanity rules

YouTube has updated its guidelines, introducing changes to its profanity rules that previously led to videos being demonetised.

The initial policy was announced in November 2022 but didn’t come into effect until January 2023 and immediately met backlash. The new rules (which also included a harsher policy on game violence) led to increasing demonetisation of content, and applied retroactively. Following the controversy, YouTube had promised to make tweaks.

In yesterday’s announcement, YouTube acknowledged that the “new profanity policy actually resulted in a stricter approach than [it] intended.”

Videos featuring moderate profanity will now be eligible for monetisation. Videos using strong profanity will be eligible for limited monetisation (versus none at all in the previous version of the rules), with various caveats depending on where the profitanity is (before or after the first seven seconds) and whether it’s used “repetitively throughout the majority of the video.”

Usage of profanity in titles and thumbnails will still lead to being demonetised, though YouTube clarified that was already the case before the November rules.

Videos demonetised under the previous version of the rules will be reviewed by YouTube by March 10.

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