YouTube reverses coronavirus ad ban

Video website will allow ads to run on coronavirus-related content from certain channels

YouTube has reversed its blanket ban on videomakers making money on content that discusses the novel coronavirus.

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Now, the Google-owned video website is enabling ads on videos from certain channels and preparing policies to expand monetization opportunities for more creators, according to a Wednesday blog post.

"We know many of you have had questions about our sensitive events policy, which currently does not allow monetization if a video includes more than a passing mention of the coronavirus," the post says. "It’s becoming clear this issue is now an ongoing and important part of everyday conversation, and we want to make sure news organizations and creators can continue producing quality videos in a sustainable way."

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"In the days ahead, we will enable ads for content discussing the coronavirus on a limited number of channels," the post continued, adding that YouTube is preparing its "policies and enforcement processes to expand monetization to more creators and news organizations in the coming weeks."

(AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)

Right now, YouTube's homepage directs users to the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for information regarding COVID-19. Google searches will operate the same way, with the first search results for information regarding COVID-19 directing users to the WHO and CDC.

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The website will also be donating advertising funds to local non-government organizations in areas that have been impacted by COVID-19 "who are using it to spotlight timely, helpful information," the blog post says.

YouTube has strengthened its efforts to fight misinformation as more people depend on the video website as a news resource. The WHO met with Google and other tech giants in February to come up with ways to prevent the spread of viral misinformation on hugely popular sites like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and more.

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YouTube's ad revenue reached more than $15 billion in 2019, up by nearly $4 billion from 2018 when it generated more than $11 billion, according to CNBC.

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