YouTube will begin allowing ads on videos that discuss coronavirus for a "limited number of channels," CEO Susan Wojcicki said in a Wednesday blog post. This includes creators who "accurately self-certify" as well as several news partners, she said. YouTube is planning to expand monetization to more news organizations and creators in the coming weeks.
The video sharing site has a sensitive events policy that currently prevents monetization on videos that have "more than a passing mention of the coronavirus." Wojcicki said that policy was meant to apply to short-term events like natural disasters.
"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," Wojcicki wrote.
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COVID-19, the disease caused by a newly identified coronavirus first detected in China in December, has now infected more than 124,000 people and killed more than 4,500 around the world.
Wojcicki said YouTube is using its homepage to link out to global organizations like the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help people easily find updates. In addition, the company is donating advertising inventory to governments and NGOs in affected regions.
The site is also prioritizing authoritative sources in search and recommendations, and displaying information panels providing context on relevant videos.
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"YouTube will continue to quickly remove videos that violate our policies when they are flagged, including those that discourage people from seeking medical treatment or claim harmful substances have health benefits," Wojcicki noted. "Finding trustworthy content is especially critical as news is breaking, and we'll continue to make sure YouTube delivers accurate information for our users."