YouTube now allows mild-ass swearing without slashing creator ad revenue

Cussing in a YouTube video became just too risky for creators back in November, when the platform introduced controversial changes to its profanity policy that potentially hampered their ability to make money. The new rules demonetized videos that contained colorful language in the first eight seconds, with possible exceptions made if the swearing was done at a later time. The change was retroactive, and it drew flak from creators whose old and new videos were rendered ineligible for advertising. YouTube has heard those frustrations loud and clear, and it’s now relaxing those stringent rules.

Conor Kavanagh, YouTube's monetization policy lead, details the service’s response to feedback from creators affected by the change. The new profanity rules, he admits, “resulted in a stricter approach than we intended.”

To appease outraged creators, YouTube now allows them to use moderate and even strong swear words without risking their monetization status. However, the amount of ad revenue creators can make depends on the level of profanity, according to YouTube’s community post. For stronger forms of swearing, like dropping some f-bombs, your video will remain eligible only for limited ads, provided the swear word is uttered in the first seven seconds. There will be no restriction if the cussing happens at a later time, unless the vulgar language is used repeatedly.

Meanwhile, using less severe swear words at any point in the video will no longer pull ads from your video or limit your monetization status. YouTube’s guide for inappropriate language classifies mixed-use terms like “douchebag” as moderate profanity. However, ads will be turned off if any of these words are used more often in the video than YouTube is comfortable with.

Previously, there was no distinction between which word was more profane than the other, and using any of the cuss words in any way was certain to cost creators their monetization status.

YouTube reiterates that using colorful language in background, outro or intro music won’t demonetize content. Under the previous rules, this would have removed that eligibility. Profanity that appears in thumbnails and titles can also lead to demonetization, with stricter rules for harsher language.

By March 10, the service will re-examine the videos that were either completely demonetized, or had their ad revenue limited due to the previous rules.

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