YouTube creators are less likely to lose ad money

This doesn't completely solve problems for creators, but it's a start.

Reuters/Dado Ruvic

YouTube riled its community when its effort to automatically demonetize offensive videos led to an "adpocalypse" that stripped innocent creators of revenue, and it's taking one of its first big steps toward making amends. The service is pushing an update that should reduce the number of misclassified videos. All told, YouTube expects 30 percent fewer videos that have to make do with limited ads on their way to becoming fully monetized. This should lead to "millions" more videos raking in full income, according to the streaming media giant.

The company knows this won't necessarily solve everyone's issues, and that the update might accidentally limit ads on some videos. You should appeal (and thus get a human to review your clip) if that happens, YouTube said. A video's fate is only final if an appeal fails.

The update comes after YouTube used appeals over the summer to refine the machine learning system that automatically categorizes videos. In theory, the system should continue to improve both as more appeals come in and YouTube itself gets better at determining what constitutes an offensive video. The problem, of course, is that this isn't much consolation to creators who depend on YouTube for income and lost a significant chunk of money.

Imagine if an algorithm accidentally deprived you of an important paycheck, and you were never going to get all of that money back even with a successful appeal. Wouldn't you be upset? This underscores the risks of not only relying on AI technology for content screening, but of basing your livelihood around someone else's video service. A change in code could do real damage to people's lives, and they may not have much choice but to live with the consequences.