Today, Google announced some updates to the YouTube Terms of Service, which are starting to roll out today in the United States. The first of the updates is relatively small, with some language updates making it explicitly clear that facial recognition data can't be collected or harvested without the permission of the person being targeted. Collecting data that can be used to identify a person has always been forbidden on the platform, but the new language focuses specifically on facial recognition.
The most notable change, though, is that YouTube is going to start showing ads on videos from channels that aren't included in the YouTube Partner Program, as long as they're still "brand safe". The goal for the company is to allow advertisers to leverage as much of YouTube's scale as possible. For users, that means you'll probably start seeing ads on many more videos, but because the channels aren't included in the YouTube Partner Program, there's no revenue sharing with creators. Channels can still apply for the program, but until they do, they may be displaying ads with no financial return.
Additionally, YouTube says creator revenue will now be treated as royalties in the United States from a tax perspective. As such, Google may withhold taxes from creator payments when required by law, but the company says most creators shouldn't be affected if they provide valid tax documention in AdSense.
These changes to the YouTube Terms of Service are rolling out today in the United States, and will be expanding to other countries by mid-2021. You can learn more about the changes here.