Many people in the YouTube cannabis community have noticed that the video-sharing platform is deleting certain cannabis-related videos and even taking down well-established cannabis channels. And many are asking the same question: What’s the deal with YouTube lately? Is the website targeting cannabis content and cannabis channels?
The case of cannabis YouTubers
Take CustomGrow420, for instance, which is considered to be the top YouTube channel focusing on cannabis and which boasts more than a million subscribers and more than 200 million views in total. CustomGrow420 has been removed from YouTube, and a visit to its YouTube page merely states that “This account has been terminated for violating YouTube’s Community Guidelines.”
Stoned Alone, a channel with a significant amount of following, had also been completely deleted off YouTube. Who knows what other cannabis channels or content have been taken off the face of YouTube, too.
Coral of CoralReefer, who is a legal medical cannabis patient in a legal state and who makes videos related to cannabis, complained about one of her recent videos being flagged by YouTube as a violation of its guidelines. That particular video was about how to make medicated butter using a machine.
Coral, whose channel has more than 119,000 subscribers, shared a screenshot of YouTube’s message for her:
“YouTube doesn’t allow content that encourages or promotes violent or dangerous acts that have an inherent risk of serious physical harm or death. We also don’t allow content that appears to be posted in a shocking, sensational, or disrespectful manner.”
YouTube calls these so-called violations of guidelines as “strikes,” which will expire in 90 days. Additional strikes could prevent a channel from posting any more content on YouTube or even lead to a channel or account being terminated.
Deeva, whose YouTube channel Deevaology, had already earned two strikes from YouTube. The stoner’s latest strike is for a video on rolling weed. According to Deeva, she feels like a “prisoner online” and she feels like she quit her “9-5 deal for a bigger ass hole.”
These YouTube strikes and account termination have led some creators in the YouTube cannabis community to create a new video sharing platform for cannabis users and supporters. They are calling the site WeedTube, and it currently runs on donations.
It’s not just cannabis
DrAutoflower, a federally legal medical cannabis patient in Canada who said that he also lost his original cannabis channel with 33,000 followers, noted that it is not only the cannabis community that is affected by YouTube’s sudden policy changes. According to him, “it is happening all over.”
In his comment on a particular content regarding YouTube’s attacks against cannabis, DrAutoflower said that other communities, such as Air Soft Gun vloggers, alternative media, medieval weapons and armors enthusiasts, hunting channels, and even cartoon channels, among others, have also been targeted.
Variety Magazine had explained that YouTube is making its revenue-sharing program with its creators more restrictive and that it has started manually reviewing videos covered by its premium advertising program. This is a way for YouTube to assure its advertisers that their ads and their messages won’t show up in inappropriate and disturbing videos.
YouTube, according to the article, stated that the higher standards will help the platform prevent videos that are potentially inappropriate from being shared through the site and prevent partner-creators from monetizing from these videos, which can hurt revenue for all parties.
Aside from having moderators check the content, YouTube has also changed the guidelines governing its partner program. For one, new creators who are applying to the YouTube Partner Program need to accumulate 4,000 hours of video watch time for their content within the past year and they need to have 1,000 subscribers in order to be qualified for advertising revenue share.
Before, the minimum threshold to be eligible for the revenue-sharing program was 10,000 views. This, according to YouTube, did not provide them with sufficient information that would enable them to weed out spammers, impersonators, and “bad actors.”