“Every hour, YouTube deletes nearly 2,000 channels,” reports the New York Times. “The deletions are meant to keep out spam, misinformation, financial scams, nudity, hate speech and other material that it says violates its policies.
“But the rules are opaque and sometimes arbitrarily enforced,” they write — and sometimes, YouTube does end up making mistakes. (Alternate URL here…) The gatekeeper role leads to criticism from multiple directions. Many on the right of the political spectrum in the United States and Europe claim that YouTube unfairly blocks them. Some civil society groups say YouTube should do more to stop the spread of illicit content and misinformation… Roughly 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute globally in different languages. “It’s impossible to get our minds around what it means to try and govern that kind of volume of content,” said Evelyn Douek, senior research fellow at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. “YouTube is a juggernaut, by some metrics as big or bigger than Facebook.”
In its email on Tuesday morning, YouTube said Novara Media [a left-leaning London news group] was guilty of “repeated violations” of YouTube’s community guidelines, without elaborating. Novara’s staff was left guessing what had caused the problem. YouTube typically has a three-strikes policy before deleting a channel. It had penalized Novara only once before… Novara’s last show released before the deletion was about sewage policy, which hardly seemed worthy of YouTube’s attention. One of the organization’s few previous interactions with YouTube was when the video service sent Novara a silver plaque for reaching 100,000 subscribers…
Staff members worried it had been a coordinated campaign by critics of their coverage to file complaints with YouTube, triggering its software to block their channel, a tactic sometimes used by right-wing groups to go after opponents…. An editor, Gary McQuiggin, filled out YouTube’s online appeal form. He then tried using YouTube’s online chat bot, speaking with a woman named “Rose,” who said, “I know this is important,” before the conversation crashed. Angry and frustrated, Novara posted a statement on Twitter and other social media services about the deletion. “We call on YouTube to immediately reinstate our account,” it said. The post drew attention in the British press and from members of Parliament.
Within a few hours, Novara’s channel had been restored. Later, YouTube said Novara had been mistakenly flagged as spam, without providing further detail.
“We work quickly to review all flagged content,” YouTube said in a statement, “but with millions of hours of video uploaded on YouTube every day, on occasion we make the wrong call ”
But Ed Procter, chief executive of the Independent Monitor for the Press, told the Times that it was at least the fifth time that a news outlet had material deleted by YouTube, Facebook or Twitter without warning.
So if you have friends in Parliament you can get YouTube to have a look at unbanning you, but if you only have a few hundred thousand followers you are fucked.
It’s a bit like Amazon, except more people depend on the Amazon marketplace for a living: