YouTube announced today that it plans to invest $5 million in its Creators for Change program, in an effort to help members “counter hate and promote tolerance.” Creators for Change, which launched in 2016, is a collective of 39 YouTubers who use the platform to discuss and promote important issues around the world.
The members of Creators for Change work on “impact projects” to raise awareness about things like police brutality, bullying, xenophobia, and racism. The $5 million investment will come in the form of “production and marketing support,” including several production grants, according to YouTube. The company also says it hopes to bring more creators into Creators for Change in 2018.
The fund is a small amount for a company that has an estimated value of $75 billion, but it’s an indication that YouTube wants to put more effort into ensuring its creators use their platforms for good. As Polygon points out, the investment comes just a few months after some members of Creators for Change said it was “disheartening” to see YouTube’s more controversial streamers earning huge amounts of money and views.
“It’s our duty to not promote just the negative, but the positive,” YouTuber Sam Saffold told Polygon in September. “There are so many positive YouTubers who don’t get the attention they deserve.”
YouTube has also been criticized for videos that include hate speech and terrorist propaganda. This summer, the European Union approved a set of proposals that would make companies like YouTube responsible for blocking the hate speech published on their platforms.
But it’s not just hate speech that has caused problems for YouTube recently. In December, Logan Paul, who has more than 16 million subscribers on YouTube, was widely criticized for filming the body of a suicide victim in Japan’s Aokigahara forest. He took down the video and apologized for it, but versions of the clip were still available to watch on other channels. About a week later, YouTube removed Paul from its Google Preferred ad program and put his YouTube Red projects on hold.
Despite its consequences for Paul, YouTube is still faced with the fact that some of the most controversial videos are also the most popular ones. Most of the YouTubers in Creators for Change have smaller audiences than the top YouTubers (Sam Saffold has 25,000 subscribers) and have found it difficult to monetize their channels while covering important topics. YouTube’s grants will hopefully alleviate some of that pressure, but money is just a small part of YouTube’s creator issues.
YouTube says it will announce the recipients of the Creators for Change production grants “in the coming months.”