YouTube has started pulling ads from videos that have inappropriate comments posted under them, panicking video creators amid a crackdown on alleged pedophile networks on the site.
On Thursday night, YouTube staff tweeted that a video could lose its ads—and the money those ads make for video creators—if “inappropriate” messages are posted in the comments section.
“Even if your video is suitable for advertisers, inappropriate comments could result in your video receiving limited or no ads,” the YouTube tweet read.
A YouTube spokesperson confirmed to The Daily Beast that the site is limiting ads on videos that could attract predatory comments.
Demonetizing videos over comment sections, rather than the actual content of the videos, is a drastic move for YouTube. But the platform has been left scrambling to win back advertisers after a viral video posted on Sunday showed how pedophiles use comment sections on the site to communicate with one another.
Posting under otherwise innocuous videos of young girls engaged in gymnastics or other physical activities, the often anonymous users directed one another in the comment sections to parts of the videos they found sexual.
The video exposing the practice has earned more than 2 million views. Major advertisers like Nestle, Disney, and Fortnite creator Epic Games pulled their ads from YouTube, which deleted more than 400 channels and millions of comments in an attempt to crack down on the pedophiles.
The scandal has also left YouTube creators terrified of another “Adpocalypse”—YouTube lingo for the kind of event that tarnishes the site in the eyes of advertisers, and sends YouTube creators’ income plummeting.
The prospect of losing ads over what a random commenter posts terrified YouTube video creators, who have often complained in the past that the site arbitrarily pulls ads from videos.
YouTuber Philip DeFranco, who has more than 6 million followers on YouTube, posted a video on Thursday acknowledging that the site’s new comment policy has set off a panic among creators.
“There are a lot of YouTubers of all types right now freaking the hell out,” DeFranco said.