YouTube has quietly removed a piece of code from its website, sparking concerns among users, activists, and creators. The code, which revealed whether a channel was part of the exclusive YouTube Partner Program (YPP) and thus eligible for ad revenue, disappeared in November, leaving many in the dark about their competitors and the platform’s transparency.
The code’s removal affects both creators and watchdogs who used it to monitor the monetization status of channels. The YPP is seen as a validation of creators’ talents, but the lack of transparency could allow both new entrants and those removed from the program to escape attention.
The code removal has raised questions about accountability, as activists and researchers previously used it to investigate issues such as the monetization of disinformation. The move comes after YouTube faced criticism for allowing revenue on channels with harmful content.
YouTube spokesperson Kimberly Taylor stated that the removal was part of ongoing updates to improve privacy for creators and viewers. While the monetization status is a private matter between YouTube and channel owners, critics argue that transparency is essential for accountability.
The removal has impacted tools like the Google Chrome extension “Is YouTube Channel Monetized?,” leaving users without clear alternatives. Creators like Tony Woodall, who used the extension to research other channels in YPP, express frustration over the sudden loss of transparency.
This development comes at a time when the platform faces increased scrutiny over content moderation, ad revenue distribution, and accountability for its vast creator community.