In an update to its Terms of Service on Wednesday, YouTube announced that it will now run advertisements before videos created by users who are not already members of its Partner Program, but will not share the new revenue it receives with those users.
“YouTube has the right to monetize all content on the platform and ads may appear on videos from channels not in the YouTube Partner Program,” a Wednesday night email from the platform reads.
YouTube’s Partner Program allows users with larger followings—typically more than 1,000 people—to receive a portion of the revenue generated from ads that play before their videos. The money can be a boon to creators trying to support themselves with content they create specifically for the platform, and the decision to advertise only on videos from creators with larger following had the unintended consequence of helping to ensure that ads only wound up on content that advertisers would be more likely to approve of.
But the decision not to pay a percentage of advertising revenue to creators with smaller followings is a naked cash-grab by YouTube, one that allows the platform to deem the creators too small to merit a payout while simultaneously filling their own coffers.
The decision sparked immediate blowback among YouTube’s creator community, with some prominent users taking to Twitter to call the move “exploitative” and “predatory.”
Although YouTube did not immediately confirm the number of additional videos it plans to advertise on, the platform said that ads will not be limited to channels of a certain size and confirmed that it will continue to monitor the impact of the policy change on creators going forward.