Today, as the unprecedented COVID-19 situation continues, Google outlined how it’s reducing the need for people to come into its offices while ensuring that its products continue to operate for everyone. We are committed to keeping the YouTube community informed about our actions related to COVID-19 in a dedicated location in our help center. Here is our update from last week; below is some more information about the reduction of in-office staffing as it relates to YouTube:
We have teams at YouTube, as well as partner companies, that help us support and protect the YouTube community—from people who respond to user and creator questions, to reviewers who evaluate videos for possible policy violations. These teams and companies are staffed by thousands of people dedicated to helping users and creators. As the coronavirus response evolves, we are taking the steps needed to prioritize the well-being of our employees, our extended workforce, and the communities where they live, including reducing in-officestaffing in certain sites.
Our Community Guidelines enforcement today is based on a combination of people and technology: Machine learning helps detect potentially harmful content and then sends it to human reviewers for assessment. As a result of the new measures we’re taking, we will temporarily start relying more on technology to help with some of the work normally done by reviewers. This means automated systems will start removing some content without human review, so we can continue to act quickly to remove violative content and protect our ecosystem, while we have workplace protections in place.
As we do this, users and creators may see increased video removals, including some videos that may not violate policies. We won’t issue strikes on this content except in cases where we have high confidence that it’s violative. If creators think that their content was removed in error, they can appeal the decision and our teams will take a look. However, note that our workforce precautions will also result in delayed appeal reviews. We’ll also be more cautious about what content gets promoted, including livestreams. In some cases, unreviewed content may not be available via search, on the homepage, or in recommendations.
All eligible creators will still be able to monetize videos and this does not change the updates on monetization of coronavirus-related videos we shared last week. And we’ll continue to enforce our policies regarding coronavirus content, including removing videos that discourage people from seeking medical treatment or claim harmful substances have health benefits.
The situation with coronavirus continues to change day by day, and we’ll continue to take the steps needed to protect our teams and the communities where they live. This may affect additional types of YouTube user and creator support and reviews, such as applications for the YouTube partner program or responses on social media. To stay up-to-date on any changes in our services—and our broader response to the coronavirus—continue to check the help center.
We recognize this may be a disruption for users and creators, but know this is the right thing to do for the people who work to keep YouTube safe and for the broader community. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we take these steps during this challenging time.
Over the past several weeks, as we’ve all seen the growing crisis around the coronavirus, we at YouTube have been thinking about how these developments might affect you. We often say that you’re the heart of YouTube, and during this difficult time we wanted to share how we’re working to help and support you.
Keeping our community informed
There’s a lot of uncertainty right now, and we understand the importance of helping people find authoritative sources of news and information. We're using our homepage to direct users to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other local authoritative organizations around the world to ensure users can easily find updates. We're also donating advertising inventory to governments and NGOs in impacted regions, who are using it to spotlight timely, helpful information.
It remains our top priority to provide information to users in a responsible way. From the very beginning of this outbreak, we’ve worked to prevent misinformation associated with the spread of the virus. We’re also raising up authoritative sources in search and recommendations and showing information panels on relevant videos. YouTube will continue to quickly remove videos that violate our policies when they are flagged, including those that discourage people from seeking medical treatment or claim harmful substances have health benefits. Finding trustworthy content is especially critical as news is breaking, and we’ll continue to make sure YouTube delivers accurate information for our users.
Partnering to help others
The situation is evolving every day, and we're committed to providing you updates along the way, including any changes that may impact our processes and support systems. Check in here to find the latest resources from YouTube.
People around the world come to YouTube for information, but they’re also looking for something more: to find relief and connect as a community. Creators and artists bring us together, offering entertainment and solace through conversations that help us feel less alone. We’re working to help make those connections possible by meeting the increased demand for live streaming as university events, conferences, and religious services move their gatherings online.
Supporting creators: updates to monetization for coronavirus-related content
YouTube’s policies are designed to support your work on the platform, to protect users, and to give advertisers confidence about where their ads run. 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. In the days ahead, we will enable ads for content discussing the coronavirus on a limited number of channels, including creators who accurately self-certify and a range of news partners. We’re preparing our policies and enforcement processes to expand monetization to more creators and news organizations in the coming weeks.
The power of community
YouTube creators have shown time and again the difference it makes when we come together. We appreciate everything you do to create positive communities that allow people to turn to each other in times of need. Let’s continue to support each other as we navigate these challenging times.
When the Internet arrived, it brought to the world a buzzy connectivity. People could meet, talk and become friends online. Now, with the majority of young black people spending time in places like YouTube, videos have helped create a digital diaspora. It’s this diaspora that helps us — a people dispersed around the globe — feel like we’re not alone.
Here, in this digital space, no one needs to seek another person’s approval for who they are, or what they’re interested in. This has allowed a generation of creators to redefine blackness for themselves. In honor of Black History Month, we’re spotlighting a handful of creators who’ve done just that:
King Vader is a popular black creator known for reinterpreting anime. He uses black actors in a setting that’s more familiar to him and his viewers, such as his neighborhood. His “hood” anime videos (Hood Naruto, Hood Cowboy Bebop) have almost 50 million views. By inserting black actors and cultural indicators into this anime landscape, King Vader creates a black-shared experience within the broader-shared experience of the anime fandom. He’s part of the movement that helped views of videos related to anime more than double in 2019.
Breakout star, Jennelle Eliana, burst onto the YouTube scene last July with her first video from her blue van. Within weeks, she gained over 1.5 million subscribers and became 2019’s sixth, most-subscribed new creator. She’s part of the “van life” trend — a community created by people who have traded in a conventional way of life for life on the road.
Late last year, two black guys — separated by the Atlantic Ocean — broke all conventions of the type of music a black person is expected to make. Their break-out song, “Old Town Road,” went on to become one of the top music videos in the world. (It was #1 in the U.S.) Music is another area where black creators continue to innovate.
Black creators' interests and experiences put them at the forefront of every trend. The result is a kaleidoscope of blackness, defined by them and for them. They’re telling the world who they are and what they can be. Through their YouTube wins, they helped make 2019 an especially trend-setting and unforgettable one.
Responsibility is our number one priority at YouTube, and this includes protecting kids and their privacy. Over the last few years, we’ve significantly invested in the policies, products and practices to help us do this, including launching YouTube Kids in 2015. In July 2019, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) began accepting comments on the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Many creators have already participated in this process and today, we submitted our comment to the FTC as well.
Support access to high-quality kids content
YouTube is built on the premise of openness. Based on this open platform, millions of creators around the world have been able to make their content globally accessible, for free, to audiences of diverse backgrounds. On YouTube, creators are bringing visibility and opportunity to kids and families with special needs, using crafts to explore the world, offering fun ways to get kids moving, and more.
Many creators have expressed concern about the complexity of COPPA, their ability to comply with it, and its effect on the viability of their businesses. Questions range from what content is directed at children, to how to treat adults who might be watching kids content. This is particularly difficult for smaller creators who might not have access to legal resources. Balanced and clear guidelines will help creators better comply with COPPA and live up to their legal obligations, while enabling them to continue producing high-quality kids content that is accessible to everyone, everywhere.
Treat adults as adults
Currently, the FTC’s guidance requires platforms must treat anyone watching primarily child-directed content as children under 13. This does not match what we see on YouTube, where adults watch favorite cartoons from their childhood or teachers look for content to share with their students.
Creators of such videos have also conveyed the value of product features that wouldn’t be supported on their content. For example, creators have expressed the value of using comments to get helpful feedback from older viewers. This is why we support allowing platforms to treat adults as adults if there are measures in place to help confirm that the user is an adult viewing kids content.
Provide clarity on what is made for kids
The question creators ask us the most is, “What is made for kids content?” Sometimes, content that isn’t intentionally targeting kids can involve a traditional kids activity, such as DIY, gaming and art videos. Are these videos “made for kids,” even if they don’t intend to target kids? This lack of clarity creates uncertainty for creators.
The FTC shared some guidance in November — and while this is a positive step in the right direction, we believe there needs to be more clarity about when content should be considered primarily child-directed, mixed audience or general audience. When providing these distinctions, it’s important to not only consider the actual content of the video, but also its context.
Work with the FTC
We strongly support COPPA’s goal of providing robust protections for kids and their privacy. We also believe COPPA would benefit from updates and clarifications that better reflect how kids and families use technology today, while still allowing access to a wide range of content that helps them learn, grow and explore. We continue to engage on this issue with the FTC and other lawmakers (we previously participated in the FTC’s public workshop) and are committed to continue doing so.
The comment period closes Wednesday, December 11. If you’re interested in providing feedback of your own, you can do so on the FTC’s website.
Today we kick off the final sprint in YouTube’s Season of Giving! Over the past few weeks, creators from all over the country – and the world – have rallied their fans to raise money and awareness for causes near and dear to their hearts.
This week the creator frenzy-of-goodness goes into overdrive with livestreams, collabs and special events focused on bringing the YouTube community together, all in the name of generosity.
Read on for all the details!
Stephanie and MatPat of The Game Theorists at St. Jude in Memphis.
The Game Theorists take over Giving Tuesday for St. Jude
Warning: You aren't going to get anything done this Tuesday, because you’re going to be watching The Game Theorists’ all-day livestream in support of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital!
And just to up the ante, Scott Cawthon, creator of the insanely popular game, Five Nights at Freddy’s, has committed that he’ll personally donate $500,000 to St. Jude if fans can find easter eggs in an unreleased, made-just-for-the-event game, launching on Tuesday, within one hour of the game going live. Join MatPat, Markiplier and Dawko as they work together to unlock money for St. Jude and #CancelCancer.
The livestream kicks off at 10 a.m. PT. You aren’t going to want to miss a moment!
Have you bought your tree yet?
MrBeast and Mark Rober, the creators and masterminds behind #TeamTrees, joined forces with the goal of raising $20 million to plant 20 million trees by January 1, 2020. The juggernaut campaign is rolling into its final weeks, with only 4 million trees to go!
From all over the world, people have rallied behind the simplicity of the campaign: $1 raised plants 1 tree. Donations flooded in from the start. Within the first 48 hours of launch, #TeamTrees raised $5 million. And within the first week, people uploaded over 3,800 videos with the #TeamTrees tag on YouTube.
#TeamTrees has proven that the sum of many small actions of kindness can make a huge, positive impact on the world. And there is still time to buy a tree, join the movement and become part of this historic fundraiser!
Creators choose, everyone wins!
This week YouTube will be filled with opportunities to learn more about causes and share donations. Check out the many fundraisers: from the 13th annual Project for Awesome from Hank and John Green (aka vlogbrothers) to Khan Academy’s All in for Education livestream to Hope For Paws rescuing animals and much more.
We’ve created a playlist to help you find some of the top fundraisers planned for Giving Week. Come for the great videos, stay for the great causes!
The spirit of generosity and support is one of the things that makes our community so special. On behalf of everyone at YouTube, thank you to all of the creators, fans and friends who are using their voices to make the world a better place.
Every quarter, I give you an update on the highlights of the past few months. In August, I did something different and wrote to you about our top priority: the importance of striking the right balance between openness and responsibility. I did this because I received a number of questions about the viability of an open platform, and I wanted to emphasize our commitment to both openness and responsibly protecting our community.
Today I’m returning to our usual format because there are so many new updates to share on our three key priorities: supporting creator and artist success, improving communication and engagement, and living up to our responsibility.
But before I jump into these sections, I want to let all of you know that YouTube as a platform for creators continues to thrive. Compared to last year, the number of creators with a million or more subscribers has grown 65 percent, and creators earning five or six figures, annually, has increased more than 40 percent.
We always say that creators are the heart of YouTube. So, with that, let me move to our next section… supporting your success!
Supporting creator and artist success
One of the biggest issues we heard about from you this year was around copyright claims, in particular about aggressive manual claiming of short music clips used in monetized videos. Those claims often resulted in all revenue going to the rightsholder, regardless of the length of the music claimed.
I’m glad to report we've made progress. A few months ago, we made changes that removed the financial incentive to claim very short and unintentional music use. We also required timestamps for all manual claims so you know exactly which part of your video is being claimed, and made updates to our editing tools so you can easily remove manually claimed content from your videos.
In the months ahead, we’re working to move all creators to the new-and-improved YouTube Studio. We’re making this switch because Classic Studio was built on older technology that doesn’t allow us to put out bug fixes or introduce the new features you’ve requested as quickly as we’d like. Many of YouTube Studio’s updates are inspired by requests from creators, and we think you’ll like its exclusive features, including the new dashboard, powerful analytics, and real-time performance metrics. Access to Classic will be removed for the majority of creators early next year, and you’ll be individually notified in advance of a change to your access. We know it can be hard to change the tools you work with every day, but we believe this new foundation will help us innovate more quickly on your behalf.
We’re also looking to support your success by helping you monetize in new ways that go beyond traditional ad revenue and tap into the viewer-creator connection. Today, thousands of channels have more than doubled their YouTube revenue by using new features that help fans engage with creators, like Super Chat, Channel Memberships, and Merchandise. More than 100,000 channels have received Super Chat, and some streams are earning more than $400 per minute as fans reach out to creators to say hello, send congratulations, or just to connect. And we’re building on the success of Super Chat by expanding the launch of Super Stickers to eligible creators in 60 countries around the world.
And since we expanded YouTube Stories last year, more creators are using Stories not just to connect with existing subscribers, but also to find new ones. Over the last year, creators who used an active Story on their channel saw an average increase to their subscriber count of more than eight percent compared to creators without Stories.
We’re also running experiments to help match content that could be considered edgy with advertising that fits their brand. As you know, yellow icons are a signal that only limited advertising can run on a particular video because of its content. We’re working to identify advertisers who are interested in edgier content, like a marketer looking to promote an R-rated movie, so we can match them with creators whose content fits their ads. In its first month, this program resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in ads on yellow icon videos. You can learn more here.
For gaming creators, we’ve heard loud and clear that our policies need to differentiate between real-world violence and gaming violence. We have a policy update coming soon that will do just that. The new policy will have fewer restrictions for violence in gaming, but maintain our high bar to protect audiences from real-world violence.
To help creators have a better understanding of our guidelines, we will expand our Self Certification pilot next year to hundreds of thousands of YouTube Partner Program (YPP) creators. This program lets creators self-report how their video complies with ad policies. It’s a reinforcing process: the more accurate you are in your self-reporting, the more our system trusts you. Not only does Self Certification give creators more control, it also provides specific feedback on why a video might have monetization issues.
We’ve also heard creators say it feels like an inconvenience when we run experiments or make changes. They ask why we’re trying to fix something that doesn’t seem broken, and they want more of a heads up. So I wanted to give more insights into our development processes.
We are always looking for ways to improve the YouTube experience. Every change we make was tested many times, in several variations, before we roll it out. In the last year alone, we launched over 2,500 updates to YouTube. That means every new feature is developed after we test three or four potential versions to determine what works best for users and creators. It’s through all these changes — big and small — that we deliver a better product for you to broadcast yourself and make a living in the new creative economy. We’ll do a better job of communicating with you about why we’re undertaking these efforts and how they might impact you. Please remember that our experiments enable us to ultimately have a better outcome for all viewers and creators.
Lastly, I wanted to mention that we continue to work to support your well being. Many of you have shared your stories about burnout, and we appreciated your honesty. We want to encourage you to take care of yourself and invest in recovery. In particular, I’ve heard some creators say they feel like they can’t take a break from filming because they’re concerned their channel will suffer. So I asked the product team at YouTube to look into it. They went over data from the last six years and found good news. Across millions of channels and hundreds of different time frames for breaks, the same thing was true: On average, channels had more views when they returned than they had right before they left. If you need to take some time off, your fans will understand. After all, they tune into your channel because of you.
Living up to our responsibility
You’ve heard me say before that my number one priority is to balance our responsibility to protect our community with the responsibility to protect freedom of expression. One of the most common questions I get is about how we make policy changes and why it seems to take so long.
These changes take time because, behind the scenes we bring together hundreds of people at YouTube, in consultation with outside experts. When we updated our hate speech policy a few months ago, we consulted with experts in areas like violent extremism, supremacy, civil rights and free speech. These in-depth conversations help us determine how to write guidelines that will protect our community in the long run. We went through a similar process earlier this year when we updated our policy toward pranks and challenges.
We need to ensure our policies address how these issues arise in different cultures and languages, and we also want to make sure our policies can be easily understood by users around the world. YouTube trains all of our reviewers before we implement a new policy, so it will be applied consistently, regardless of what country a user is in when they use YouTube.
We also make sure that every policy works in practice and not just in theory. Before a new policy is launched, we test to make sure that our reviewers rate content with a high level of accuracy under the new guidelines. If they don’t, we send the guidelines back and try again. We want to ensure that content is consistently rated correctly, rather than rushing through a change.
Right now, we’re in the process of updating our harassment policy guidelines, and we’ll keep you posted as they’re finalized. As with all our policy updates, we’re talking with creators to make sure we’re addressing the issues that are most important to the YouTube community.
We’re also changing how we treat data for children’s content on YouTube as part of a settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the New York Attorney General that addresses COPPA concerns.
In order to identify content made for kids, we recently implemented a new audience setting where creators must designate whether their content is made for kids. Starting in January, certain features that rely on user data, such as comments and personalized advertising, will no longer be available on content made for kids. We know there are still many questions about how this is going to affect creators and we’ll provide updates along the way. You can read more about this change here.
Finally, I wanted to share some thoughts as I’ve spent more time with policymakers around the world, from New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to legislators in Washington, D.C. to regulators in Europe who are translating Article 17, the EU copyright directive previously called Article 13, into local law. In all of these conversations, it’s clear that we need to continue to help people understand the creator economy, how it contributes to jobs around the world, and how regulation could impact your businesses.
Last year, I wrote to you about how Article 17 could have unintended consequences that might impact your livelihood. Thanks to all of the creator involvement, we were able to make improvements to the legislation — in particular, securing liability protections when we make best efforts to match copyright material with rights owners. This change made a big difference and moved the copyright directive in a better direction for the internet and YouTube. Now it’s up to European countries to turn the legislation into national laws. As the process moves forward, we're meeting with governments and inviting local creators to help explain to legislators how Article 17 could affect creators like you.
We’re in this together. We'll continue to keep you posted as we advocate for responsible copyright reform. We hope to see some early drafts of the new legislation in 2020, but it will take a few years for each EU country to implement Article 17.
I’d like to close by saying how powerful it is when creators do good work around the world. So many of you were inspired by Mr. Beast and Mark Rober’s #teamtrees challenge to help plant 20 million trees by January 2020. Last month, I was honored to join in the challenge and plant a tree with Mark.
The response from creators to #teamtrees has been so impressive. If you keep up this pace, we’ll hit the goal of 20 million trees! We're excited to help creators support their favorite causes with tools like the YouTube Donate button. In the next few months, the Donate button will come out of beta and become available to thousands of creators in the U.S. — and later expand to more countries — giving you the opportunity to embed a fundraising campaign next to your videos and live streams.
It’s so inspiring to see all of your great work. Keep it up!
Like Bushiba over there, your fans want to say hello, connect with you, and even share their appreciation.
Whether it’s to congratulate you for a game well played!
Or thank you for keeping up the good work, your fans are looking to deepen their connections with you in fun, new ways.
That is why we’re so excited to launch Super Stickers!
Super Stickers are launching today in 60 countries to all eligible creators (same creator eligibility criteria as Super Chat), allowing your viewers to buy cool stickers to connect with you during live streams and Premieres.
Our initial release comes with 8 distinct sticker packs, 5 of which are animated and have unique bios that add even more color to your connections with fans. If your viewers like Popo the hippopotamus, they can send you stickers the next time you’re on a hot streak. Once you enable Super Stickers, be sure to explore the sticker packs to learn more about Energetic Lemon and Baby Lemon, Bushiba, Biggest Fans, and others!
A new way to help you earn money on YouTube
Super Stickers are inspired by the success we’ve seen with Super Chat, which allows fans to purchase messages that stand out within a live chat and Premieres. There are now over 100,000 channels who have received Super Chats, with some streams earning more than $400 per minute.
Enabling Super Stickers is as simple as a click of a button! And if you already use Super Chat, you’ll be automatically opted in. Your fans can also choose from a wide range of prices.
Connect with even more fans including your international viewers!
Our first launch and upcoming launches of Super Stickers include translated sticker packs for English, French, Japanese, Korean, and Portuguese, making it easier for your international viewers to connect with you, even if they don’t share the same language.
More stickers coming soon!
We want to continue building great connections between you and your fans, while building more ways to help you to earn revenue. In the coming months, we’re excited to create and release more sticker packs for you and your fans.
If you haven’t used Super Chat yet, learn how to get started with Super Stickers here!
Nonna Bridiga demonstrates her technique for tagliatelle in her Italian home kitchen. (YouTube)
A bowl of homemade pasta is one of the most comforting foods in the world, but making it by hand is no mean feat. It can take years to master the delicate art of perfect tortellini and ravioli, and as families get busier and busier, the traditional art of making homemade pasta is dwindling, even in Italy.
Enter Pasta Grannies! Food writer Vicky Bennison started her channel as a way to catalogue the traditional handmade pasta skills of Italy’s grandmothers. For the past five years, she has crisscrossed the country, inviting her audience into the homes of these nonnas as they lovingly prepare their favorite dishes. Whether it’s demonstrating a rare regional specialty or sharing their techniques for mastering the classics, the Pasta Grannies are inspiring the next generation of home cooks.
But it’s more than just a cooking tutorial, it’s also helping to preserve centuries-old culinary culture. As Vicky says, “YouTube is just the most fantastic way for these women to pass on their skills and traditions to their grandchildren, their great-grandchildren and the rest of the world.”
YouTube traveled to Italy with Vicky to learn more about what propels her vision for Pasta Grannies, the art of making pasta by hand, and to meet the nonnas in person.
When viewers come to YouTube, it’s important that they know the channel they are watching is the official presence of the creator, artist, public figure or company that it represents. With that in mind, we’re announcing upcoming changes to our channel verification program starting in late October. There are two parts to the new verification program, a new look and new eligibility requirements.
Currently, verified channels have a checkmark next to their channel name. Through our research, we found that viewers often associated the checkmark with an endorsement of content, not identity. To reduce confusion about what being verified means, we’re introducing a new look that helps distinguish the official channel of the creator, celebrity or brand it represents.
As YouTube has expanded features where viewers interact with channels, including community posts, live chats and comments, the checkmark has been displayed inconsistently. The new look will be displayed more consistently across channel pages, search and comments, and is more difficult to replicate, so that viewers can be sure of a channel’s identity. This new look will also replace the existing music note on Official Artist Channels on YouTube.
New eligibility requirements
Under our current eligibility requirements, channels with more than 100,000 subscribers can be verified regardless of need for proof of authenticity. That worked well when YouTube was smaller, but as YouTube has grown and the ecosystem has become more complex, we needed a new way to verify the identity of channels and help users find the official channel they’re looking for.
Our new criteria prioritizes verifying prominent channels that have a clear need for proof of authenticity. We look at a number of factors to determine if a channel meets this criteria, including:
Authenticity: Does this channel belong to the real creator, artist, public figure or company it claims to represent?
Prominence: Does this channel represent a well-known or highly searched creator, artist, public figure or company? Is this channel widely recognized outside of YouTube and have a strong presence online? Is this a popular channel that has a very similar name to many other channels?
The new criteria will apply for all channels. Channels that meet the new requirements no longer need to apply; we will automatically apply the new verified treatment. For more info about verification and eligibility, check out our Help Center.
As I do every quarter, I’d like to pause and reflect on my priorities and how I can help you be successful on YouTube. But rather than our usual update on this quarter’s highlights and lowlights, I want to take a minute to talk about something that is incredibly important to me personally, and the future of this platform: openness and how we balance that with our responsibility to protect the community.
YouTube is built on the premise of openness. Based on this open platform, millions of creators around the world have connected with global audiences and many of them have built thriving businesses in the process. But openness comes with its challenges, which is why we also have Community Guidelines that we update on an ongoing basis. Most recently, this includes our hate speech policy and our upcoming harassment policy. When you create a place designed to welcome many different voices, some will cross the line. Bad actors will try to exploit platforms for their own gain, even as we invest in the systems to stop them. As more issues come into view, a rising chorus of policymakers, press and pundits are questioning whether an open platform is valuable... or even viable.
Despite these concerns, I believe preserving an open platform is more important than ever.
First, openness leads to opportunity. Today’s creators have built an entire creative economy and are redefining the face of media. They are truly next-generation media businesses, with millions of views and global brands, who are contributing to local and global economies, and creating jobs. These are creators that would not have had a chance to break through in a more closed media landscape. Creators like Swedish robotics enthusiast Simone Giertz and blind lifestyle vlogger Molly Burke, both unconventional in their appeal and passed over by traditional media, are finding huge success on YouTube managing businesses, selling merchandise, creating jobs for other people and creating real economic value in their communities. Or creators like Laura Vitale, Sallys Welt and Helen's Recipes have turned their passion for food into full-time professions, complete with successful channels, cookbooks and more. And they are not alone. A report from Ryerson University found that YouTube creators have created 28,000 full time jobs just in Canada. And 20% of eligible Canadian creators are creating jobs for others. Around the globe, the number of channels earning more than $100,000 continues to climb 40% year over year.
Openness has also helped foster community. On an open platform, a shared experience can unite people in amazing ways. For example, Ryleigh Hawkins from New Zealand started her channel, Tourettes Teen, to spread awareness about what it’s like to live with Tourette’s syndrome. Her informative, joyful and humorous videos have earned her fans around the world and let others with this potentially isolating condition know they are not alone. And teens are sharing their college rejection videos, serving as a reminder that this painful moment happens to everyone and people do bounce back.
And finally, openness leads to learning. As a daughter of two teachers and a lifelong learner, I’ve been especially inspired to see Edutubers like Origin of Everything, Manual do Mundo, Eddie Woo and Excel is Fun turn YouTube into the world’s largest classroom. Every time I meet someone new and ask them about YouTube, I hear a story about something they learned on the site: how YouTube helped a student ace her math homework, a mom fix a broken garage door, or an employee master a new job skill.
Let me be clear, none of this happens without openness. Without an open system, diverse and authentic voices have trouble breaking through. And the voices that do get a platform often sound like those who already have one. That small business built on someone sharing their passion for soapmaking never takes off. That bullied teen can’t find a community that looks and feels like them and lets them know that it gets better. And that curious person obsessed with planetary physics and looking for a few videos is probably out of luck.
A commitment to openness is not easy. It sometimes means leaving up content that is outside the mainstream, controversial or even offensive. But I believe that hearing a broad range of perspectives ultimately makes us a stronger and more informed society, even if we disagree with some of those views. A large part of how we protect this openness is not just guidelines that allow for diversity of speech, but the steps that we’re taking to ensure a responsible community. I’ve said a numberoftimes this year that this is my number one priority. A responsible approach toward managing what’s on our platform protects our users and creators like you. It also means we can continue to foster all the good that comes from an open platform.
Problematic content represents a fraction of one percent of the content on YouTube and we’re constantly working to reduce this even further. This very small amount has a hugely outsized impact, both in the potential harm for our users, as well as the loss of faith in the open model that has enabled the rise of your creative community. One assumption we’ve heard is that we hesitate to take action on problematic content because it benefits our business. This is simply not true — in fact, the cost of not taking sufficient action over the long term results in lack of trust from our users, advertisers, and you, our creators. We want to earn that trust.
This is why we’ve been investing significantly over the past few years in the teams and systems that protect YouTube. Our approach towards responsibility involves four “Rs”:
We REMOVE content that violates our policy as quickly as possible. And we’re always looking to make our policies clearer and more effective, as we’ve done with pranks and challenges, child safety, and hate speech just this year. We aim to be thoughtful when we make these updates and consult a wide variety of experts to inform our thinking, for example we talked to dozens of experts as we developed our updated hate speech policy. We also report on the removals we make in our quarterly Community Guidelines enforcement report. I also appreciate that when policies aren’t working for the creator community, you let us know. One area we’ve heard loud and clear needs an update is creator-on-creator harassment. I said in my last letter that we’d be looking at this and we will have more to share in the coming months.
We RAISE UP authoritative voices when people are looking for breaking news and information, especially during breaking news moments. Our breaking and top news shelves are available in 40 countries and we’re continuing to expand that number.
We REDUCE the spread of content that brushes right up against our policy line. Already, in the U.S. where we made changes to recommendations earlier this year, we’ve seen a 50% drop of views from recommendations to this type of content, meaning quality content has more of a chance to shine. And we've begun experimenting with this change in the UK, Ireland, South Africa and other English-language markets.
And we set a higher bar for what channels can make money on our site, REWARDING trusted, eligible creators. Not all content allowed on YouTube is going to match what advertisers feel is suitable for their brand, we have to be sure they are comfortable with where their ads appear. This is also why we’re enabling new revenue streams for creators like Super Chat and Memberships. Thousands of channels have more than doubled their total YouTube revenue by using these new tools in addition to advertising.
The stories I hear from creators like you inspire me every day. The community you’ve created is living proof that an internet that reflects a broad range of ideas can change the world for the better. You’ve built something incredible; it’s our job to strike the right balance between openness and responsibility so that future generations of creators and users can, as well.