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Logan Paul forced YouTube to admit humans are better than algorithms

From Engadget - January 19, 2018

Up until now, Google's (and by extension YouTube's) solution had been to take down offensive channels and tweak its advertiser-friendly guidelines to give brands more control over where their ads show up. But the tech giant is now taking that one step further. Earlier this week, it announced YouTube will now manually review uploads from accounts that are part of its Google Preferred ad tier, which lets brands publish advertisements in videos from the top five percent of YouTube creators.

The shift is notable because it means YouTube will rely less on algorithms to catch bad actors, something that social media companies are finally realizing needs to happen. Facebook and Twitter have both also vowed to hire more humans, as they look to crack down on bots and troll accounts that have plagued their sites. What Google and YouTube hope, naturally, is that this will help avoid another mess like the one Logan Paul created.

Although Paul's channel "Logan Paul Vlogs" still lives on the platform, YouTube has put on hold the original projects he was working on for YouTube Red, its paid ad-free streaming service. It also terminated his lucrative Google Preferred ad deal, and while he will still be able to monetize his content, not being a part of that advertising package likely wo not earn him nearly as much money. For context, he was reportedly the fourth highest-paid YouTuber in 2017, according to Forbes, earning an estimated $12.5 million -- thanks to Preferred, his Maverick apparel line and sponsored posts on social media.

The decision was likely a tough one for YouTube, considering the millions of people who watch Logan Paul's channel and, perhaps most importantly, the level of influence he has over a key demographic: teenagers. But YouTube had to make an example out of him in order to appease advertisers, which grow more and more concerned that their ads could appear alongside disturbing or inappropriate videos. Last year, AT&T and Verizon (which owns Engadget), among others, pulled ads from Google's platform after they were displayed on videos related to terrorism and hate groups.

YouTube is also implementing stricter requirements to its Partner Program, which lets smaller channels earn money by placing ads in their videos, to help filter out offensive content. Creators can now only become a YouTube Partner if they have 4,000 hours of watchtime in the past 12 months and over 1,000 subscribers. These changes are in addition to the ones made in 2017, when YouTube began requiring 10,000 channel views minimum in order to be granted partnership status. The company says setting these thresholds will prevent low-quality videos from making money and stop channels from uploading stolen content. That said, it still plans to depend heavily on viewers flagging videos that may violate YouTube's community guidelines.

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