Help Us Push Back Against YouTube’s Unfair Business Tactics

All we’re asking for is fairness, consistency, and ethical business conduct.

By Michael Brown Published on September 5, 2017

Would you like to come behind the scenes with me to see what it looks like when YouTube suddenly demonetizes hundreds of your videos?

Before you say, “YouTube is a private company and can do whatever it wants to do,” let me remind you of this. YouTube provides users with community guidelines. These explain which videos are acceptable for advertisers and which are not. When YouTube acts inconsistently and unfairly, it violates its own guidelines. So we have a right to protest. (At the end of this article I’ll let you know how you can help us push back.)

Let me give you some examples.

Our Videos Immediately Flagged

No sooner did we discover that YouTube had demonetized (not removed) the vast majority of our 900+ videos, than we spotted this: The moment a video was posted, on our channel, even privately, for our team’s personal review, it was marked “Not suitable for all advertisers.”

That’s right. The very moment it was posted, it was flagged.

This had nothing to do with content, since it had not yet been reviewed by YouTube. It was simply because the video was on the AskDrBrown channel. We were judged guilty before the trial began and before a single piece of evidence was presented.

Is this ethical or fair?

Many of the videos were benign, including a number of two-minute, Hebrew word studies. (Oh, how divisive and intolerant and bigoted of us!) And the temporary titles we used for these videos, which again, weren’t even released to the public, simply transcribed the Hebrew word being discussed.

Will YouTube kindly tell me how a Hebrew teaching video entitled “Gee-bor” is “Not suitable for all advertisers”? Or will YouTube explain what is unsuitable about a video entitled, “Will There Be a Third Temple?” or about another one called, “Rebuilding the Altar”? (Two of these were not released to the public; they were flagged the moment they were posted.) And what guidelines did we violate with this beautiful story of Jesus healing a severely burned Muslim woman?

We Violated Which Guidelines?

Then there is the utter lack of consistency on YouTube’s part.

For example, we posted two identical videos to our channel. One was private and one public. They had almost the identical title and content. (One added video enhancements; that was it.) The private video was marked, “Not suitable for all advertisers”; the public video was approved for all advertisers. But these were the same two videos!

YouTube approve one video for monetization (to our surprise). It featured my interview with Laura Loomer, where she criticized the ADL. Yet the video of my interview with one of her employers, Ezra Levant was not. It confronted media censorship but focused on the needs of suffering Christians in the Middle East. YouTube deemed it unsuitable after review.

Is there even an attempt at evenhandedness here? Can one even know what is acceptable and what is not?

As an experiment (and, as an actual attempt to call on YouTube to act ethically), we began to request a manual review for some of the flagged videos.

Is it wrong to hope that YouTube and its advertisers will prize our essential freedoms over an atmosphere of arbitrary censorship and repression?

After review, “A Christian Response to Google’s Intolerance” was confirmed to be not suitable for all advertisers. Yet the video challenges Christian viewers to examine their own hearts and see if they are as intolerant as Google is. What is unsuitable about that? Which group is it maligning or marginalizing?

After review, the trailer to my new book, Saving a Sick America, was also deemed unsuitable all advertisers. A book trailer!

Also after review, the wonderful, redemptive story of a former KKK leader who now serves as an associate pastor of an African American church, was confirmed as not suitable for all advertisers. Based on what criteria? Based on what guidelines? Isn’t this a story that should be shouted from the rooftops?

And what recourse do you have once YouTube confirms the demonetization of your video after review? None. Nada. Zilch. Whatever they say goes, at least as far as I can tell right now. And, based on our analysis to date, their decisions are quite arbitrary.

Why else demonetize our videos that confront Christian pastors who want the death penalty for homosexuals? Wouldn’t advertisers want to applaud our stands? Why else demonetize videos with friendly public debates on theological issues? Which guidelines did these violate?

Fairness, Consistency and Ethical Conduct: Not A Lot to Ask

Where YouTube is consistent is in punishing video creators for challenging the left. Dare to take on Planned Parenthood, and your video will be demonetized. State that Bruce Jenner is not a woman, or take issue with a man who believes he’s a female, mythical dragon, or point out how redefining marriage leads to a slippery slope, or expose media bias against Israel, and you will pay the price.

In the last few days, we noticed that some new videos placed on our site for our private viewing were not immediately flagged. This added to our confusion, as there seems to be no rhyme or reason to what YouTube is doing. And some videos for which we requested review are deemed suitable for all advertisers while others are not. Is this simply a question of which YouTube employee happens to view them?

Again, all we’re asking for is fairness, consistency, and ethical business conduct.

YouTube, is this too much to ask? And is it wrong to hope that you and your advertisers will prize our basic freedoms over an atmosphere of arbitrary censorship and repression? Are we living in the United States of America or in a radical, liberal version of North Korea? (Yes, that’s an exaggeration, but you get the point.) Which way are we heading?

Since I first posted the story of YouTube’s demonetizing of our videos, causing a drop in our YouTube income of more than 70 percent (which is something we feel as a modest, not-for-profit ministry), many have asked what they can do to help. To stand with us, click here, and thanks so much for your solidarity and support.

Together, we can get the message out, with or without YouTube’s help.

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  • me, myself & I r all here

    there must also be a way for you to let us help by devising a means to communicate with the “gods of youtube” to let them know we are not supporting their attempts to silence free speech

  • Howard Rosenbaum

    Perhaps Dr Brown you may want to bring this to the attention of Tucker Carlsons FOX primetime programming. He raised some pretty good points w/his guest the Google employee who was fired for voicing some intelligent perspectives on diversity that Google felt was not fitting into their idealogical box . This sounds like a good fit for the savvy conservative political pundit that Tucker has proven to be …

  • Paul

    Really? How does donating money to you help to push back? Here’s a different thought…we stop using youtube.

  • Stephen D

    Is there no legal avenue of redress on this? I mean what’s good for a florist and a baker must surely be good for YouTube?

  • Jim Walker

    YT is the secular world. There is nothing in common between the Godly and the ungodly.
    Since its a private company, they can shift the advertisers to wherever they want.
    They are not just de-monetizing Christian videos, they are doing it to people like Stefan Molyneux and Paul Watson.
    Unless conservatives and Christians set-up an alternative to YT, its useless to ask for fairness with left wing companies, sadly they are getting too big.

    This verse comes to my mind.
    2 Corinthians 6:15
    What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?

  • Az1seeit

    I’m a bit confused. How does contributing to a “go fund me” site push back at unfair practices at You Tube? It seems a work around so there’s no skin off You Tube’s back…

  • cestusdei

    Here is what you do. Claim that you “identify” as being Muslim and that youtube is discriminating against you and is Islamophoblic. They will quickly back down.

  • Hmmm…

    Tucker Carlson Tonight aired a segment on this very issue – 9/7/17 – about 3/4 way thru the program – exact same issue and example

  • Becky

    What they’re doing isn’t fair at all, but that doesn’t change the fact that Youtube is theirs and if youtubers don’t like it…

    It’s not like they don’t have any competitors. Just like the store Target, customers were mistreated (eg “transgender” bathrooms), so they took their business elsewhere and Target has suffered immensely. Youtube will be no different…if youtubers get proactive. There’s a stone for every Goliath.

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