YouTube temporarily suspended ads on the channels of the controversial internet video celebrity Logan Paul, halting an income stream estimated at millions of dollars and putting a more aggressive content policy into gear. “After careful consideration, we have decided to temporarily suspend ads on Logan Paul’s YouTube channels,” YouTube said in a statement. “This is not a decision we made lightly, however, we believe he has exhibited a pattern of behavior in his videos that makes his channel not only unsuitable for advertisers, but also potentially damaging to the broader creator community.” Paul is one of the highest-profile stars YouTube has sanctioned so far.
In a blog post this month, YouTube Chief Executive Officer Susan Wojcicki said the site is developing policies that would lead to consequences if a creator does something “egregious that causes significant harm to our community as a whole.” Such instances, while rare, can “damage the reputation and revenue” of fellow creators, she said. Paul’s manager and publicist didn’t respond to requests for comment on Friday. Google, part Alphabet Inc., is making the biggest changes to ad rules on YouTube since the site’s inception in 2005 after a boycott last year by some big brand marketers.
The company has to walk a fine line between placating advertisers and supporting creators, who helped make the service so successful and often earn money by being edgy or outrageous. Late on Friday, YouTube released more detailed guidelines which included a warning that the company could pull ads or boot creators off the service if they “cause harm” to other producers and consumers. “In the past, we felt our responses to some of these situations were slow and didn’t always address our broader community’s concerns,” Ariel Bardin, vice president of product management at YouTube, wrote in an accompanying blog post.
YouTube released the new rules after top creators, including Casey Neistat, expressed concern about how Paul’s antics would affect them. Neistat reached out directly to YouTube chief business officer Robert Kyncl, who sat down for an interview about the matter, Neistat said in a video. The interview will run Monday.
Paul has more than 16 million subscribers to his YouTube channel, and he was on Google Preferred, which sells premium ads for the most popular videos. However, the company pulled him from the program after he filmed an apparent suicide victim in Japan’s Aokigahara forest. After the incident, Paul stopped producing his daily video blog for a while, but returned to the platform in January, saying he’d learned from his mistakes.
A recent video showed Paul shooting a Taser stun gun at dead rats.
Now read: Google tightens YouTube rules
Google parent Alphabet has unveiled its results for Q4 2017, which show that its operating profits soared – growing by 15% to £32 billion. The Washington Post reported that this allays concerns that advertisers no longer trust the company’s platforms, including YouTube. Alphabet said mobile search led its strong growth, and it also enjoyed a boost from desktop search and YouTube.
Revenue from Google’s advertising business grew by 21% compared to last year and now accounts for 84% of Alphabet’s total revenue.
The company’s cloud platform, which competes with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, generated £1 billion in revenue this past quarter.
Alphabet Inc.’s Google has joined a funding round for a Chinese games-streaming service, making its second direct investment there since largely withdrawing from the country in 2010. The Mountain View, California company is joining a Series D investment round for Chushou, whose name translates into “Tentacle,” a Chinese mobile-centric game live-streaming platform with 90 million registered users. Existing backers including Qiming Venture, Shunwei Capital and Alpha X Capital also joined the round, Chushou said in a statement that Google provided.
Google’s investment in Chushou comes after it lost out to Amazon.com Inc., which bought Twitch for £970 million in 2014. Since then, it’s attempted to launch live-streaming services for gamers via YouTube. Live-streaming of games has attracted the attention of technology giants, with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. pushing into the sector.
The Chinese market alone is expected to generate 3 billion yuan (£462 million) of revenue and attract 140 million users this year, according to IResearch, as users track the online exploits of gamers within PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds or League of Legends. Chushou also competes with Huya, DouYu — or “Fighting Fish” — and Panda TV for dominance of game-streaming. Google has been re-building its presence in China, where it defied the government in 2010 by refusing to self-censor search content and later had most of its services blocked.
Chushou is only Google’s second direct investment since, after a 2015 decision to back local AI startup Mobvoi. The U.S. giant has been ramping up hiring and promotion of its TensorFlow AI tools, features Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai highlighted when he visited the country last year. It launched a Beijing-based AI research center in December.
With its latest deal, Google’s getting into an industry that’s subject to persistent and aggressive Chinese censorship. Beijing has launched periodic crackdowns on video streaming sites, aiming to root out everything from portrayals of violence to game addiction. Some of Chushou’s most popular streams feature PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, a gore-splattered title in which players duel to the death.
The latest cash injection brings Chushou’s total funding to £120 million and will help it expand services around the world. Like Twitch, it offers viewers the chance to watch gamers hack and slash their way through over 1,000 titles. Since launching in August 2015, the platform has garnered 8 million unique streamers with an average of 250,000 live streamers active on the site each day — most of whom are viewed via smartphones.
“Chushou has built an impressive platform, with a dedicated and quickly growing base of content creators and consumers, and smart expansion plans,” said Frank Lin, Google’s principal, corporate development for North Asia.