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YouTube age-restriction quagmire exposed by 78-minute Mega Man documentary - Ars Technica

YouTube age-restriction quagmire exposed by 78-minute Mega Man documentary - Ars Technica

Sep 30, 2022 1 min, 8 secs

On Friday, Summoning Salt took to social media to claim that his latest 78-minute documentary about 1989's Mega Man 2, which went live in mid-September, has been "age-restricted" by YouTube's moderation system.

Thus, Summoning Salt was surprised to learn on Friday that the video had been re-age-restricted—which he claims severely limits a creator's ability to monetize content on YouTube.

An age restriction flag works against content creators in two ways: it limits the advertisement pool that might run in pre-roll and mid-view breaks, and it essentially slams the door on YouTube's recommendation algorithm, which might otherwise tease Summoning Salt's content to new viewers.

His appeal eventually teased an answer from YouTube's moderation team: "explicit language in certain parts." As Summoning Salt explained, the video includes a three-second outburst of six F-words, taken directly from a Twitch streamer's microphone during a passionate gameplay moment.

Ultimately, Summoning Salt points to YouTube's unclear recommendations to content creators for content like curse words.

According to YouTube's own rules, the line between "moderate profanity" (allowed in YouTube's unrestricted videos) and "strong profanity" comes down to not only specific word choice but also frequency, and YouTube merely suggests that the line is crossed when reaching a threshold of "used in every sentence," or having certain swear words appear in prominent moments like the first 30 seconds of a video or as text in a thumbnail.


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