Creators on YouTube take a stance in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and allow viewers to make monetary donations to organizations fighting racial injustice without spending a cent out of pocket. As YouTube flagged the videos and removed them for alleged violations, the creators are questioning the platform’s support.
YouTube, in turn, responded to the removal of video collections for the Black Lives Matter movement with a blog post explaining the alleged violations of fake engagement and encouraging clicks or views.
The creative fundraising idea on YouTube was spearheaded by Zoe Amira, a beauty guru on the platform with a current subscriber count of more than 79,300 as she uploaded the hour-long compilation video on art, words, poetry and songs created by black men and women. The video, titled “How to help BLM financially with NO Money / leave your house (invest in the future for FREE)” was tied to a promise that Amira would donate all revenue generated from ads shown in the video to Black Lives Matter and black lives Matter-associated protests bail bonds. Since then, videos of the same kind have been uploaded by various creators on YouTube, only to be removed by the platform that marked the content as “inappropriate.”
It is here! donate to #Black lives matter protest funds with your time and your views. Given the pandemic, I know it’s more difficult than ever to open your wallet for important reasons, so here you can donate by watching ads instead! LIKE, SHARE, RT https://t.co/nmL24xfW52
– ZOE AMIRA (@zoeamira) May 31, 2020
Amira first took to her Twitter at May 29th asking Blacks creative to share their work with her so she could include it in a fundraising video that would generate donations to the Minnesota Freedom Fund in the wake of protests stemming from George Floyd’s death. She also opened the issue to brands or companies that would like to sponsor parts of the video for a good cause. Her goal, she wrote, was to have as much content as possible to make the video as long as possible in order to ultimately have the potential to generate more money.
When she uploaded the video, she explained that she ran into some copyright issues. But as soon as the video was live, she encouraged people to watch it and even explained how to make sure each viewer contributed to the cause.
it’s in the video, but be sure to take these steps so your views raise $$$!
1. Turn off your browser ad block extensions temporarily
2. DO NOT skip the ads
3. Try repeating the video from the playlist if you can!
4. stream it like an album lol
– ZOE AMIRA (@zoeamira) May 31, 2020
Just a day later, on May 31, YouTuber released an update revealing that her account had been “flagged” as a result of the video. The video also became inaccessible after being considered “potentially mature.”
it’s not just tiktok censorship of people … there’s not even anything remotely controversial in this video, not even a swearing in the songs, and yet it was flagged for limitation / being “potentially mature” right away ??? ? pic.twitter.com/MuZq1Dx9Gj
– ZOE AMIRA (@zoeamira) May 31, 2020
The video became visible and made money again shortly thereafter, but back and forth continued as Amira continued to update her followers on Twitter. She even mentioned that many complained about ads in support of President Trump, even though she had tried to block them because of the nature of her content. “Youtubers can’t choose which ads to show on their videos, but we can only block specific ads if we get the specific ad link,” she tweeted. “I don’t know why Trump is targeting and trying to advertise on black life-important videos, but I DON’T want it on my channel. no no no. “
However, while the video continued to gain exposure, views and ad revenue, it had actually been removed and replaced twice by YouTube. When people decided to create their own fundraising videos, they faced the same problem of having their videos removed, but without any effort from YouTube to replace them.
now this is deeply confusing to me.
my video has been taken down twice and replaced twice, but an almost exactly similar video gets rejected? https://t.co/aOjKULKUZf
– ZOE AMIRA (@zoeamira) June 8, 2020
Amira’s video was eventually removed for good on June 10. She did not respond to Yahoo Life’s request for comment, but explained on Twitter that although the money she had raised from ad revenue was returned to advertisers, YouTube promised to donate the same amount to organizations of her choice.
Various other videos of the same kind, including those who lived on omuriceu’s channel and the site of another creator named Cindy Marshall, have also all been deleted with a note from YouTube that they were removed for violating YouTube’s spam policy , misleading practices and scams. “These creators did not have the same response from YouTube as Amira.
Selena Trevino, a 24-year-old YouTube creator, tells Yahoo Life that after being made aware of the potential to remove her own fundraising video, she made sure it did not violate any community guidelines before publishing it in June 7.
“As with all my videos, I made sure that the video was presented well with information and / or resources. Basically, I made sure this was not just a video just for donations / contributions, but for so much more: raising and supporting black artists, influencers and leaders, ”shares Trevino via email. “My heart behind this was to support them by using my platform while raising money and ALSO providing resources in the description that people could share, use and distribute. I didn’t think in any way that my video would break any of the Community Guidelines. “
As of Thursday night, her video had reached more than 40,000 views, which Trevino said “both excites me and makes me nervous because I don’t want anyone to report my video or for YouTube to remove it.” Later on Thursday night, her video was removed from the platform.
“I appealed and submitted a form,” Trevino says, referring to YouTube’s powers. “They haven’t come back to me yet.”
YouTube, responding to the removal of the video by explaining alleged allegations of fraudulent engagement and encouraging clicks or impressions, noted in its blog post: “While you can take all the advertising revenue you earn from organic traffic and donate it, some of these videos people to repeatedly watch the video for ad views and / or repeatedly click on the ads in the video, which artificially increases the video viewing time and ad metrics – this is in violation of YouTube’s policies. We see this encouragement in video titles, descriptions, and in the video content itself, which is not allowed. If your video encourages this behavior, it will be removed from YouTube, you will not be paid for impressions and clicks, and advertisers will not be charged. “
A YouTube spokesman further stated to Yahoo Life that YouTube is still working with Amira to donate money from her video to an approved 503c nonprofit of her choice. However, the specific amount that will be donated has not been revealed and any efforts to match the potential revenue from other fundraising videos have not been discussed.
Some still-to-be-released videos for organizations fighting racial injustice include those of Stephanie Soo, a YouTuber with more than 2.2 million subscribers who integrate real-life criminal cases into videos of her eating from different kitchens.
Other creators continue to talk about YouTube’s actions (or interactions) when it comes to supporting black creators and black content during this time. Roxy Striar, a content creator and host, expressed dissatisfaction with the platform as he ran into similar issues around generating ad revenue on various videos related to the Black Lives Matter movement, including those not explicitly made in an effort to raise money.
When I have white guests, you pay me. When I have black guests, you don’t. Shade. pic.twitter.com/UJI6cCvHnW
– Roxy Striar (@roxystriar) June 7, 2020
“When I have white guests, you pay me. When I have black guests, you don’t, ”Striar tweeted along with photos of the back end of her account. “Shade.”
Striar explains to Yahoo Life, “YouTube encourages creators not to talk about Black Lives Matter because if they do, they can’t pay their rent. … If you really believe in Black Lives Matter, you will stop discouraging your content creators from talking about the movement. “
In response to much of the feedback, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki on Thursday announced a multi-year, $ 100 million fund dedicated to amplifying and developing voices of black creators and artists and their stories. This is intended to include a livestream fundraising event produced by YouTube Originals (YTO) called “Bear Witness, Take Action” launching on Saturday.
“I’m sure they’re doing something to help support black creators on their platform, but I’d say they can definitely do better and they can do more,” Trevino says of YouTube’s efforts so far . “I notice that many of these lesser black creators have the most authentic content, and sometimes some of the best content, but they are still relatively small compared to other successful YouTubers. I want to see more successful black and brown creators on the platform. “
Read more from Yahoo Life:
Want daily lifestyle and wellness news delivered to your inbox? sign up here to Yahoo Life’s newsletter.