YouTube demonetizes Momo videos

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YouTube demonetizes Momo videos
YouTube is demonetizing all videos about the viral Momo Challenge suicide hoax on its platform.
YouTube is demonetizing all videos about the viral Momo Challenge suicide hoax on its platform.

Image: Aytac Unal/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

For some YouTube creators, the scariest thing about the spooky internet “suicide challenge” hoax, Momo, is that they can no longer make money off it.

As Momo Challenge hysteria sweeps the nation, YouTube has started to demonetize all videos about the creature, including newscasts, explainers, and educational videos debunking the online urban legend.

According to The Verge, YouTube has confirmed that the company is demonetizing videos about Momo as they violate its advertiser-friendly guidelines

It should be noted that YouTube’s decision to demonetize videos about Momo is not technically a new policy. The company has routinely removed monetization capabilities from videos surrounding “harmful content,” which seems to be its view of anything involving the Momo character.

While creators can’t make advertising revenue off of them, Momo videos are still allowed on YouTube provided they aren’t in violation of platform’s content policies.

Philip DeFranco, the popular YouTuber also known as PhillyD, posted two screenshots to Twitter on Thursday. One pointed out that YouTube demonetized his video, which explains how the Momo Challenge is nothing more than a viral hoax. The other screenshot was a tweet from YouTube’s official account thanking the creator for that very demonetized Momo video.

YouTube notably posted an official statement about the “Momo Challenge” in an attempt to tamp down the panic just one day prior.

The Momo Challenge first spread last summer after unconfirmed news reports claimed it was responsible for suicides in countries such as Argentina and India. Momo reemerged this past week after worried parents began sharing posts warning about the challenge across social media. The posts allege that images of a creature named Momo were appearing in popular kids videos on YouTube where it allegedly “challenges” children to commit suicide. 

There are no confirmed reports of anyone committing suicide due to the Momo Challenge. The Momo image is the creation of an artist at a Japanese special effects company. A picture of the artist’s creation was posted on Instagram where it was later ripped from to create the modern day urban legend.

The sudden resurgence of the Momo Challenge could not have come at a worse time for YouTube. The company has faced increased scrutiny in recent weeks thanks to controversies involving the safety of children on its platform. YouTube announced on Thursday that it would disable comments on all videos featuring minors in an effort to curb predatory comments that were recently uncovered on the site.

YouTubers have shared their concerns over the fallout from these recent scandals. The company finds itself in a position of either alienating its advertisers or the very people who create the platform’s content. As a result, some brands are beginning to go around YouTube and partner directly with specific creators they want to advertise with. 

In a statement provided to Mashable, YouTube reiterated that it has not come across any Momo-related content on its platform promoting a “suicide challenge.”

“Contrary to press reports, we’ve not received any recent evidence of videos showing or promoting the Momo challenge on YouTube,” said a YouTube spokesperson. “Content of this kind would be in violation of our policies and removed immediately.“

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