YouTube has reassessed its advertising guidelines relating to the Covid-19 coronavirus, allowing content creators to monetise videos about the outbreak.
The Google-owned platform removed all adverts from videos relating to the deadly virus last month, prompting widespread criticism from YouTubers who complained that their videos were being demonetised for simply referencing coronavirus.
Under the February guidelines, coronavirus was deemed a “sensitive” topic and therefore “not advertiser-friendly”.
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In a message to YouTube users, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki outlined the new policy towards coronavirus and explained what measures the video-sharing site was taking to prevent the spread of misinformation.
“Our sensitive events policy was designed to apply to short-term events of significant magnitude, like a natural disaster,” she wrote.
“It’s becoming clear this issue is now an ongoing and important part of everyday conversation, and we want to make sure news organisations and creators can continue producing quality videos in a sustainable way.
Ads will only be enabled a limited number of YouTube channels, including those belonging to news organisations and other authoritative sources.
“It remains our top priority to provide information to users in a responsible way. From the beginning of this outbreak, we’ve worked to prevent misinformation associated with the spread of the virus,” Ms Wojcicki wrote.
“Finding trustworthy content is especially critical as news is breaking, and we’ll continue to make sure YouTube delivers accurate information for our users.”
There have so far been more than 125,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 around the world, resulting in close to 5,000 deaths. On Wednesday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the outbreak a pandemic and urged countries to take appropriate measures to contain its spread.
Google was one of several technology firms to meet with WHO last month to discuss measures to prevent false and sensationalist information from spreading online.
WHO digital solutions manager Andrew Pattison recently described online misinformation as an “infodemic” that was “spreading faster than the virus”.