YouTube’s Latest Assault on Israellycool

For a while now, YouTube has been seemingly going after my channel, as well as that of other pro-Israel advocates, by removing videos as “hate speech,” even where they are actually exposing hate or somehow opposing it. In my case, I have been forced to appeal the removals to have the videos reinstated.

I have noticed something else going on for a while – when uploading a video, after I opt for it to be monetized, YouTube flags it for demonetization, and I have to take the extra step to submit it for review. Here is apparently an explanation of this latter phenomenon:

One of the big, controversial stories over the past few months has been the demonetization of content on YouTube. The ‘Adpocalypse’ has hit YouTubers who deal with controversial subject matter, video games, gun reviewers and historians, as nervous advertisers pause their ad campaigns while YouTube scrambles for a solution.

For some content creators, the past few months have been such a rough stretch that they’ve turned to Patreon, a website that allows musicians, YouTubers and other creative types to offer a subscription service for fans. Others skip crowd-funding and find that YouTube Red, a $9.99 subscription service Google offers, can help make up the difference in lost advertising revenue.

Still others remain mysteriously unscathed.

Age Of Adpocalypse

The ‘Adpocalypse’ began over two separate incidents. The first was when it came to light that terrorist groups like Hezbollah were using YouTube to upload and monetize videos promoting terrorism.

The second occurred when Felix ‘PewDiePie’ Kjellberg made a video that included men he had paid to hold signs that read ‘Death to all Jews.’ Kjellberg insisted his video was satirical in nature and has since apologized. But since his channel remains the largest on YouTube, and since he was partnered with Disney’s Maker Studios at the time and worked closely with YouTube Red on original content, the backlash was intense, and the reverberations were felt throughout the YouTube community.

The two revelations combined spooked advertisers, and the resulting downturn in revenue for many content creators has been brutal. I’ve spoken with YouTube, and while they say that advertisers are returning, they also emphasized how important it is that content creators appeal demonetization.

Machine Learning

A new yellow demonetization icon has been added to the video manager that allows creators to see when one of their videos has been flagged. This indicates that the video is in something of a purgatory, and an appeal may result in that video being monetized once more.

Since YouTube uses machines to determine which videos are flagged for demonetization, and the only way for those machines to ‘learn’ and improve their filtering capabilities is for YouTubers to appeal.

Here’s how the company put it in a recent blog post:

We’ve heard questions about why the monetization status is applied so quickly after upload (including with unlisted and private videos). This is because in the first few hours of a video upload we use machine learning to determine if a video meets our advertiser-friendly guidelines. This also applies to scheduled live streams, where our systems look at the title, description, thumbnail and tags even before the stream goes live. We know our system doesn’t always get it right, so if you see a yellow icon in your Video Manager and feel our automated systems made a mistake, please appeal. As noted above, an appeal gets sent to a human reviewer and their decisions help our systems get smarter over time. Deleting the video and re-uploading won’t help.

However, it’s important to note that not all channels or videos will get an actual human reviewer for every appeal:

Because we’re a platform that has hundreds of millions of videos, we have to set parameters around which appealed videos get reviewed first to make sure we review those videos that are getting substantial traffic. Right now, our team of expert reviewers look at appealed videos with more than 1,000 views in the past 7 days. If you want to check the monetization status before making the video public, you can upload it as unlisted. If you think we got it wrong and your channel has more than 10,000 subscribers, you can appeal, and we will review your unlisted video regardless of view count. We do this because we want to make sure that videos from channels that could have early traffic to earn money are not caught in a long queue behind videos that get little to no traffic and have nominal earnings.

YouTube’s hope is that machine learning will eventually sort all of this out, but in the meantime that’s left a number of channels with vastly depleted revenue.

Sounds logical, but does not explain the latest assault by YouTube on my channel: I woke up to find that now all of my 182 videos are demonetized, despite the fact that most of them were monetized until now.

The grey “$” sign means the videos are not monetized.

I simply do not have the time, energy or inclination to now go through all of my videos and submit them for monetization review again. You win YouTube. I guess I will need to find another platform.

In the meantime, if you appreciate the time, effort and creativity I put into the blog and videos, please support Israellycool on Patreon.


David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media

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