YouTube has paid out more than $30 billion to creators from ads, merchandising, and other service features over the past three years, the company’s CEO, Susan Wojcicki, revealed on Monday.
According to a letter published by Wojcicki, the number of new channels that joined the company’s Partner Program, which enables creators to earn advertising revenue, more than doubled in the year 2020 alone. Furthermore, according to an Oxford Economics report that Wojcicki pointed out, YouTube has contributed approximately $16 billion to the U.S. GDP in 2019, supporting the equivalent of 345,000 full-time jobs, in addition to making an economic impact in other countries.
“We’re also seeing real impact in other countries around the globe. The UK in 2019 saw approximately £1.4 billion contributed to the British GDP and the equivalent of 30,000 full time jobs. And in France, there was an estimated €515 million contributed to the French GDP and the equivalent of 15,000 full time jobs.”
In terms of the future of YouTube and what is to come, it looks like a big focus for the platform is transparency and communicating any changes more effectively to avoid channel strikes/violations. According to its current policy, the company terminates a user’s channel if they receive three strikes within a 90-day period.
“In December, I spoke with creator Charlie White from the channel penguinz0 after he tweeted about being given a strike for an older video due to a new policy,” Wojcicki said in the letter. “We know this situation is similar to frustrations shared by other creators.”
One major cause that led to such policy modifications and adjustments was the 2020 presidential election, where the media platform, like many others, such as Facebook and Twitter, were faced with the decision to ban any content that spread misinformation. As a result, YouTube implemented a new policy that went into effect in December 2020. The policy offered a grace period to creators to ensure that none of their videos violated any of the new policies.
These policy changes came as YouTube — much like other social media platforms — has drawn scrutiny over its moderation of content that spreads misinformation. In light of this, YouTube has shifted away from preventing voter fraud misinformation to heavily focusing on vaccination misinformation. “We’re always working to strike the right balance between openness and responsibility as we meet the guidelines set by governments around the world,” said Wojcicki.
The company is also taking a stance on opposing the reformation of Section 230, which enables social media platforms to effectively operate without being liable for the content their user’s post. “[It] enables us to both keep YouTube open and allow a large amount of content on the internet as well as take the actions necessary to protect our platform,” Wojcicki added.