On October 6th Travis Pangburn, owner and operator of the Pangburn YouTube channel, tweeted this:
“...We just received another rejection from @YouTube to re-monetize our channel.. (sic) We need to know why this is happening to us. Are we being discriminated against? You are leaving us with little choice outside legal action.” (Travis Pangburn on Twitter, October 6th, 2021)
This is not a new question for Pangburn. For roughly a year TeamYouTube and Pangburn have been ping-ponging back and forth on Twitter. Pangburn appeals, YouTube rejects it, Pangburn questions the rejection, YouTube responds with silence, and then Pangburn appeals again. While @TeamYouTube on Twitter has referred Pangburn to their policies and terms of service for monetization, they have largely been silent on any specific instances of violations the channel has engaged in. For his part, Pangburn has “... had lawyers, linguists, YouTubers etc. Go through our Philosophy channel to try to figure out what is triggering the monetization rejection. We have even deleted videos that we didn't think broke any rules, to air on the side of caution.” (Travis Pangburn on Twitter, July 4th, 2021)
Despite the great lengths Pangburn has gone to navigate YouTube’s byzantine screening process, YouTube hasn’t deigned to let Pangburn know if anything he’s done thus far has been helpful, but not for his lack of asking:
“If any changes are required we are happy to make them. We want to learn as much as we can from YouTube so that we can be successful partners.” (Travis Pangburn on Twitter, October 3rd, 2021)
However, on October 14th, presumably responding to Pangburn’s mention of legal measures, @TeamYouTube tweeted that they had DM’d Pangburn in regards to his monetization status. But this flash of hope was short-lived, and the very next day Pangburn tweeted that his responses had been deleted, along with this screenshot of YouTube’s DM:
He went on to say that “I deleted the video. I was not informed that deleting the video that caused a strike would make it impossible for my entire channel to ever be monetized again... Where is this written in the YouTube advertising policies?” (Travis Pangburn on Twitter, October 15th, 2021)
The answer is nowhere. Pangburn continued in this thread, noting “...that it states: Warning Your content was removed due to a violation of our Community Guidelines. Because it's the first time, your account isn't affected. You're only warned once and this warning will remain on your channel. So according to your own policies and communications, my account shouldn't be affected. Please take a look at your own policies here and tell me what I am missing. It does not state that I will lose all monetization forever for deleting a video with a strike on it.” (Travis Pangburn on Twitter, October 15th, 2021)
After five days of silence, and multiple attempts to regain YouTube’s attention, Pangburn finally sent out this tweet:
“If I don't hear back today, we will be forced to move forward with the lawsuit, unfortunately. We need communication here.”, tagging all YouTube Twitter handles as he did so. (Travis Pangburn on Twitter, October 20th, 2021).
This may seem like an extreme measure, but after a year of frustration that has cost his “...company tens of thousands of dollars…”, this does seem like the only option left to settle the score on Pangburn’s lost funds. (Travis Pangburn on Twitter, October 15th, 2
After another long stint of silence, Pangburn put out a public statement on Twitter on November 1st, summarizing his personal account of events thus far.
Pangburn’s recounting of events appears to be in line with all public communication thus far. Many videos were indeed deleted off his channel and moved to another channel known as The Pangburn Offensive. At the time of writing, YouTube has still not responded to Pangburn.
While YouTube is the titan of the platform that it is for a reason, it is also notorious for having difficult and restrictive relationships with some of its creators. While Pangburn’s content tends to focus on more controversial issues, the spirit of the channel has always been free and fair discourse. Pangburn is one of the few channels on Youtube that tackles such topics without any apparent political affiliations or biases. This is why his consistent demonetization is so disheartening to those who support the Marketplace, or War, as Pangburn ironically refers to it, of Ideas.
On a larger scale though, this lawsuit could have far-reaching implications for the relationship between Big Tech platforms and their users. Depending on the outcome, YouTube may be forced to become more transparent and permissive with their policies, lest more suits follow, emboldened by precedent. It remains uncertain whether David will defeat Goliath this time around, or even make a dent, but only time will tell.
You can follow the public communication between YouTube & Pangburn here:
Or by scrolling down Travis Pangburn’s Twitter feed @ThePangburn