YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki published a blog post today addressing some of creators’ biggest concerns and frustrations, including copyright claims removing ads from their videos, the site’s trending section not showing some of the most popular uploads, and comments being removed for family vloggers.
It’s clear from Wojcicki’s blog that addressing the community’s most consistent complaints was a top priority — and chief among those is copyright claims. Copyright claims on videos, which lead to YouTubers not earning ad revenue, are a constant source of aggravation. Many of the situations that Wojcicki indirectly refers to in the blog post are from top creators, like Jimmy “MrBeast” Donaldson, who has spoken about losing out on ad revenue because a brief clip of copyrighted music was played. His case led H3H3’s Ethan Klein — who Wojcicki sat down with recently to hear concerns — to label this period as one of the “worst eras on YouTube” when it comes to copyright claims.
“We were already looking into this issue but hearing this directly from creators was vital,” Wojcicki wrote. “We are exploring improvements in striking the right balance between copyright owners and creators.”
Creators have also complained that YouTube’s trending section, an important page for finding viewers, often skips over their videos — instead showing sports highlights, movie trailers, music videos, and late-night clips. Those complaints are nothing new, but Wojcicki’s blog marks the first time that an executive at YouTube has addressed those frustrations at length.
To address complaints, Wojcicki says at least half of all trending videos will now come from YouTubers, “with the remainder coming from music and traditional media.” That doesn’t mean that a hugely popular video is guaranteed to appear on the trending list, but it addresses concerns that YouTube isn’t prioritizing its own creators. Wojcicki says YouTube is “close” to hitting that representation figure already.
Wojcicki says that “trending is meant to show content that a wide range of viewers would find interesting,” adding that YouTube’s team is “especially careful about the safety of these videos, and we ensure they don’t contain profanity or mature content.” This may be why a video from a creator like Donaldson or Shane Dawson could rack up millions of views in 24 hours, but not appear on the site’s trending list.
YouTube’s policy team is also planning to add more detailed guidelines around what content is suitable for advertisers, Wojcicki says. YouTubers have been frustrated over the lack of clarity on what content can make their video ineligible for advertising — complex rules around a seemingly simple issue like swearing have made the current guidelines hard to follow.
One of the last points that Wojcicki addressed was the company’s decision to remove comments from videos that contained children. YouTube’s decision to do so came earlier this year, after companies paused advertising spending when people discovered comment sections on YouTube videos were being used by predators to send disturbing messages about children. Since then, many creators have complained about their comments being removed, but Wojcicki says it was a decision YouTube stands by.
“I hear from creators every day how meaningful comments are for engaging with fans, getting feedback, and helping guide future videos,” she wrote. Ultimately, Wojcicki says, “that was a trade-off we made because we feel protecting children on our platform should be the most important guiding principle.”
Wojcicki’s letter to creators comes just as a score of people are in New York City for the company’s Creator Summit (an event where YouTubers can come together and chat, while also talking to YouTube employees about their concerns) and two days ahead of the company’s Upfront. The Upfront is a way for YouTube to talk to advertisers and creators directly, and it’s clear that this is a subject Wojcicki is thinking about. The post also acts as a testament to the continued importance of creators on YouTube — something that has become a major talking point within the community over the last few years. As YouTube starts to resemble more of a modern MTV for Gen Z, Wojcicki’s blog post is an attempt to remind creators they still matter most.