Supplementary written evidence submitted by YouTube




Julian Knight MP

Digital, Culture, Media and Spots Committee House of Commons

London SW1A 0AA


8 March 2022


Dear Mr. Knight,


I  would  like  to  thank  the  Committee  again  for  the  opportunity  to  engage  with  you  for  your inquiry into Influencer Culture and in the subsequent hearing on the Online Safety Bill.


I am very pleased to provide more information on the specific questions raised by the Committee in follow up to my oral evidence session.


Influencer/Creator Revenue Sharing Mechanisms


YouTube’s  unique advertising based revenue model creates jobs, builds small businesses, and enables us to make a robust library of diverse content available to users for free. YouTube shares  revenue  with  Creators  and  gives  them  the  opportunity  to  build  their  own  business. Advertising  revenue  is  generated  when  people  watch  ads  that  are  running  on  videos.  This revenue from ads is shared between YouTube and the Creator – we empower Creators to directly profit from their work.


Advertising is the primary way that YouTube Creators monetise their content and we share the majority  of  revenues  generated  with  them.  This  advertising  creates  revenue  streams  that directly reward Creators  for the popularity of their content without the need for sponsorship or  other  brand  partnerships.  Over  the  last  three  years,  we’ve  paid  more  than  $30  billion globally to creators, artists, and media.


We are  committed  to  further  increasing  our  contribution  to  the creative economy in the UK. YouTube CEO, Susan Wojcicki, recently published a letter on YouTube’s priorities for 2022, outlining  how  we  have  worked  to  expand  the  opportunities  available  for  Creators  to  make money on YouTube.


While advertising remains the primary source of revenue for YouTube Creators, there are now 10 ways in total of making money on YouTube. I hope that this information is useful in outlining the  principal  role  that  advertising  plays,  the  scale  of  revenue  that  advertising  provides  to YouTube Creators and the creative economy, and the ways in which we are making new opportunities available to Creators to make money.


Support Systems Available to Influencers/Creators


Creators are the lifeblood of the platform and we strive to protect them and ensure they have a positive experience on the platform. We do this in a number of different ways.


We have Community Guidelines that apply to comments as well as videos, and we robustly enforce those guidelines. Our harassment and cyberbullying policies  clearly  prohibit comments that feature prolonged name calling or malicious insults based on someone’s intrinsic attributes, content that incites others to harass or threaten individuals, or content making implicit or explicit threats of physical harm or destruction of property.


We   recognise   that   even   having   to   read   and   repot   abusive   comments   is   an   upsetting experience for Creators. That is why we combine large teams of people and the latest technology to find and quickly remove content and comments that break these rules. YouTube removed 50.5 million hateful and abusive comments in Q3 2021. More than 99.6% of all the comments we remove are identified through automated flagging. This means that abusive comments can be removed before Creators have a chance to read them.


We are always adding new tools and improving our existing processes to fight harassment on our platform. Creators can hide potentially harassing comments for review and removal, and can even hold all comments for review on their videos or choose to turn off comments. We recently made video dislikes private to discourage "dislike attacks" and better protect our Creators from harassment. This is just one of many steps we are taking to continue to protect creators from harassment. Our work is not done, and we will continue to invest to improve our processes.


We  understand  that  there will  still  be  times  where  Creators  need to access support, and we provide several routes for them to access this:


        Our   Creator   Academy   provides   practical   support   to   Creators  on  how  to  make  a successful channel. The site provides advice and resources on our policies and guidelines for keeping YouTube safe. The website also includes advice on how Creators can stay well and avoid burnout.

        Our YouTube contributors program provides peer-to-peer answers and education in forums and videos.

        Creators  in  the  YouTube  Partner  Program  can  receive  the  support  of  the  YouTube Partner  Manager  team.  This  team  has  held  workshops  on  wellbeing and  on  tools  to tackle abuse.


Diversity Initiatives


As   an   open   platform,   YouTube   is  uniquely  positioned  to  give  opportunity  to  the  diverse individuals and communities across the UK, helping them pursue a career and find an audience in the creative fields. We have launched a number of initiatives to help us achieve this.


To support Black creators on YouTube we opened the global Black Voices Fund. The  initiative, launched  in  2020,  is  a  multi-year  commitment  dedicated to Black creators and artists where we provide them with access to resources to help them thrive on the platform. The Fund provides grantees with dedicated support from a YouTube Partner Manager, seed funding for investment in the development of Creators' channel, bespoke training and networking opportunities. Last year, we announced our first class of 135 creators and artists from around the world, with 34 Creator grantees coming from the UK. These creators reached subscriber milestones, led meaningful discussions related to Black life and culture, and pursued new business opportunities.


Finally,   we   launched   a   YouTube   for   Creators   website   in   November   2021   as   pat   of   our commitment to encourage more diverse voices from all of the regions of the UK and remove barriers to accessing creative industries. The website provides Creators from different backgrounds with tools to create, connect and grow on YouTube.


Implementation of France’s 2020 “Exploitation Bill” requirements


The safety of children, both creators and viewers, is a top priority on YouTube. The new law in France provides for codes of conduct in regard to the obligations of platforms, which are currently being developed by the regulator. We will continue to engage with the regulator and remain at their disposal to discuss and cooperate on the codes of conduct.


Creator Demographics


We want to ensure that YouTube is inclusive and works for everyone. Today, the evaluation process of our systems is limited because we don’t have identity information about the channels on YouTube. We don’t have a way to evaluate, at scale, how our products and policies are  working  for  channels  of  creator  and  artist  communities  of  a  particular  race  &  ethnicity, gender identity, or sexual orientation.


For this reason we opened in June 2021 the Creator Demographics, a completely voluntary survey  for   US-based  creators  and  artists  which  allows them to provide us with their gender identity, race and ethnicity and sexual orientation. We have used this US-only survey data to:


        Examine how our algorithms and systems treat content from various communities.

        Understand how various communities are growing on YouTube.

        Identify potential patterns of abuse, including harassment and hate.

        Improve our current programmes, campaigns and offerings to ensure these reflect the diversity of our community.


Should a Creator choose to provide their information in Creator Demographics, Google will keep their information in accordance with the Google Privacy Policy. The information that Creators' provide is stored with their YouTube channel and will not be used by other Google products;  it  will  not  be  made  public  without  their  additional  consent, or used for advertising purposes. We are looking to expand this survey outside the US, but need to take into consideration the requirements of local privacy laws.


Thank you again for the opportunity to follow up with this information. I look forward to future conversations with you and your Committee on the important issue of online safety.


Yours sincerely,


Iain Bundred

Head of Public Policy, UK & Ireland, YouTube