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How YouTube Conveniently Combines Sexualised & Scammy Ads with Content Censorship

Contradiction between content censorship and the nature of Elsagate-ish ads being displayed is what raises concerns.

Photo by Souvik Banerjee / Unsplash

After its recent updates, YouTube has faced growing backlash from its user community over the platform's decision to ban ad blockers, resulting in an increased influx of ads, some of which have been deemed overly sexualised, scammy, and excessively lengthy, sometimes with no option to skip whatsoever. As reports suggest, instead of providing guidance for users on how to whitelist its site from ad blockers, YouTube appears to be taking measures to eliminate the ad-blocking software. The situation with unskippable ads is even worse on YouTube TV since there, you can't skip even a row of several ads.

If an ad-blocking program is detected, a message is displayed that the use of those programs "violates YouTube's Terms of Service." As YouTube says, if users continue to use ad blockers while watching videos, they "might block [their] video playback. To avoid the interruption, [you have to] allow ads on YouTube."

Simultaneously, YouTube has intensified its efforts to combat the usage of specific words within its content, leading to a wave of concerns regarding censorship. Users have expressed frustration over the platform censoring not only profanity but also ordinary language associated with critical topics. For instance, terms like "death" are now replaced by some creators with "un-alived," while words like "sex," "abortion," "gun," and "knife" are subject to censorship.

More and more creators are pushed to this and forced to bleep words like "drugs" or call sexual assault "SA," which might be blatantly disrespectful towards victims of the latter. Even though YouTube's rationale behind this is to please advertisers, it still doesn't make sense: the evening news you watch on cable uses all these words, and advertisers don't seem to care. So YouTube simply censors everyday life, and replacing the word "murdered" with "un-alived" blurs all the seriousness any socially vital topic deserves.

YouTube's decision to censor words such as "rape," "sexual assault," and "suicide" is explained by the platform as an effort to prevent triggering sensitive reactions among users. However, some users argue that this level of censorship interferes with addressing real-life issues appropriately.

In the meantime, users stumble upon "nearly hentai porn ads between censored YouTube videos and Shorts." Users report they come across scammy ads with Elon Musk depicted on a thumbnail that tout you can earn millions of dollars by buying their coach session or training, ads of AI-powered nudifying apps, ads of video games with pregnant cartoon characters that clearly have disturbing Elsagate vibes, which are sometimes shown as a row of multiple ads that can't even be skipped.

This apparent contradiction between content censorship and the nature of ads being displayed is what raises concerns. The disparity between censoring sensitive words while allowing explicit ads has led to accusations of inconsistency in YouTube's policies.

To combat the disturbing ads issue, viewers use VPNs and simply choose to download content with third-party apps, simply pirating, which, if we address the reasoning that the staggering amount of ads on the platform is intended to support video makers, clearly doesn't help creators to earn.

In response to the criticism, YouTube users are calling for a reevaluation of the platform's policies, emphasising the need for a more balanced approach that respects user concerns while maintaining a fair environment for content creators.