By Damien Wilde
YouTube is to ease the rules surrounding the use of profanity in videos after introducing new stipulations in late 2022.
More advertiser-friendly content guidelines have been adjusted after a creator backlash in recent months. Under the previous rules, the usage of profanity within the opening 15-20 seconds of a YouTube video could result in demonetization or reduced monetization capabilities for content creators. This expanded to include videos with extensive usage of swearing and foul language. However, YouTube did not make it clear just what levels infringed upon the guidelines.
According to a new “Profanity Update” video uploaded to the Creator Insider channel, the previously introduced guidelines are being altered. Retroactive reviews of old content saw many channel content demonetized, but new rules are tuning things ever so slightly.
Profanity (for example, the f-word) used in the first 7 seconds or majority of the video may earn limited ad revenue rather than no ad revenue, as previously announced below. Usage of words like “bitch”, “douchebag”, “asshole” and “shit” in the video content is eligible for green icons.
Now, profanity such as the f-word used within the opening seven seconds of a video or the majority of a video “may earn limited ad revenue.” While the usage of lesser swear words is more likely to allow for full video monetization.
Profanity used in the first 8-15 seconds may now earn ad revenue. We’ve also clarified our guidance on how profanity in music is treated; strong profanity used in background music, backing tracks, intro/outro music may earn ad revenue.
Profanity used beyond the 15-second intro phase may be subject to other rules, but it’s not entirely clear just what has changed here with regard to the volume of swearing within YouTube content. For music, backing tracks and YouTube video intro/outros, profanity will be allowed and can be monetized.
Existing content that may have been demonetized under the previous rule change will be retroactively re-examined and the latest rule changes surrounding profanity will be applied accordingly. This change has already come into force from March 7 and when uploading videos to YouTube Studio, creators will now get a notification to explain the changes. Just how creators respond remains to be seen, but it’s yet another case of YouTube making changes after yet more backlash rather than involving the community in platform alterations.