YouTube has warned against videos that try to game its Adsense system by encouraging viewers to repeatedly watch the video or click its ads to drive up revenue. The behavior has emerged as YouTubers have attempted to find creative new ways to support the Black Lives Matter movement, with some promising to donate the ad revenue generated by their videos.
The hope was that encouraging repeated viewings or ad clicking would allow viewers to contribute to a worthwhile cause even if they didn’t have the resources to donate money directly. Now, however, some of these videos are being taken down, Variety reports.
While YouTube says creators are free to donate ad revenue generated from organic views, it says that attempts to artificially inflate a video’s metrics violate its policies. It warns that any videos that do this, whether it’s with their title, description, or in the video content itself, will be removed from the platform, and the creator who uploaded it won’t be paid for any views or clicks. Advertisers will also not be charged.
“We realize some of you kicked off these efforts without a clear understanding of the policies,” the video platform said, “So YouTube will be donating to racial justice initiatives to acknowledge the efforts over the past week.” Yesterday, YouTube also announced that it would be donating $100 million to “amplify” the voices of black creators on its platform.
Instead, YouTube is asking creators to add a “Donate” button to their videos where possible. Variety notes that there are now 40,000 channels that are eligible to use the feature, although nonprofits must meet a number of requirements in order to be eligible to receive money via the feature, including being a US-registered 501(c)(3) Public Charity, and being a member of Google for Nonprofits. Channels that aren’t eligible can use their end screens to link to nonprofit organizations or fundraising campaigns, YouTube said.