I Cannot Make Any Sense Out of YouTube’s Policies

It’s only fair to wonder who is making the decisions and how are these decisions being made.

By Michael Brown Published on July 18, 2018

Many of you have taken an interest in our ministry’s experience on YouTube, where on one day, about 900 of our videos were demonetized. Since then, we have seen some videos demonetized, others with similar content approved, and one singled out for warning. Is there any rhyme or reason to what is happening? If so, it is not discernible.

To illustrate just how random YouTube’s policies appear to be, here’s a vary partial list of AskDrBrown videos that were marked as “Not suitable for most advertisers” and are awaiting manual review.

Now, to be candid, I’m tempted to add sarcastic commentary to each title. (As in, “Oh yes! This is a highly offensive video! Of course, this is not suitable for all advertisers.”) But that would quickly become redundant, as you’ll see. Sarcasm would actually be overkill.

So, here are just a few of our videos that were demonetized and are currently awaiting review. Feel free to add your own sarcastic commentary.

  • The Spirit Is Moving, But Are We Ready?
  • Answering Your Toughest Facebook Questions
  • Debunking Contemporary Heresies
  • You Bring the Questions, We Bring the Answers
  • Dr. Brown Debates Dr. Theodore Zachariades on the Gifts of the Spirit
  • The Real Messiah (Radio Broadcast)
  • Let’s Dig Into the Word!
  • Here’s Some Good News

Oh, what controversial videos!

And remember. This is just a tiny sampling of videos that were flagged.

Arbitrary Decisions?

This raises one simple question: On what basis did YouTube mark these as unsuitable for most advertisers?

How in the world is a radio broadcast titled, “You Bring the Questions, We Bring the Answers” marked unsuitable? And why are some videos with almost the exact same names and content flagged while others are not?

Because of some technical issues, we have one video up twice, with virtually the same title (“Who Are the Lost Tribes of Israel?”). One of them was flagged; the other was not. And we’re talking about the identical video. Why?

Despite our frustrations with YouTube and other left-leaning social media platforms, the light of the gospel will shine no matter how much others try to dim it.

You may recall the controversy surrounding our video Can You Be Gay and Christian?, which went viral on LGBT YouTube channels. The backlash against it was so great that I asked, “Will YouTube Block the Bible?

We tracked this video’s status on YouTube and discovered that: 1) it was still monetized (meaning, deemed suitable for most advertisers) on May 4, after the first few thousand views; 2) it was demonetized on May 5, at which time we requested a review; 3) on May 8, without explanation, it was monetized again, staying that way as it surpassed 100,000 views; then, 4) it was confirmed as unsuitable by manual review on June 15.

Talk about inconsistency or even double-mindedness. We have never had things go back and forth so many times.

It’s only fair to wonder who is making the decisions and how are these decisions being made. Is everything totally arbitrary? Does it come down to the opinion of the individual who does the review?

It Doesn’t Make Sense

We were also informed by YouTube/Google that we would not be allowed to advertise the “Can You Be Gay and Christian?” video any longer, despite the fact that: 1) it is thoroughly biblical in content; 2) it is gracious in tone; 3) it does not engage in hateful speech; 4) it reflects the historic beliefs of Judaism and Christianity.

Yet earlier this month, we were informed that my interview with an ex-gay pastor, “A Powerful Ex-Gay Testimony,” was deemed suitable for most advertisers after manual review. What?

If anything, this testimony video is more controversial than “Can You Be Gay and Christian?,” yet the latter has been demonetized, and we cannot even pay YouTube to advertise it, while the former has been approved.

Is it possible that we have critics who complain about some of our videos, causing YouTube to flag them? I’m sure we do have plenty such critics. But that doesn’t explain why they attack some videos and ignore others. Plus, YouTube certainly must recognize when persistent critics continue to attack the same person or group. It’s obvious their criticisms should not be treated as valid.

Light Overcomes Darkness

So, what do we do with all these inconsistencies? We keep putting out the truth. We keep producing new, quality videos. We keep doing what’s right. And we keep pushing back and calling for equity.

As long as the platform is there, we will use it. And should some new and better platforms emerge, we will use those as well.

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This much I know for sure. Despite our frustrations with YouTube and other left-leaning social media platforms, the light of the gospel will shine no matter how much others try to dim it. Light always overcomes darkness.

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