YouTube recently deleted videos from several channels that produce educational videos about cryptocurrency. CoinDesk reports that the number of videos removed was in the hundreds, and that a YouTube spokesperson attributed the incident to a “wrong call” on its part.
“With the massive volume of videos on our site, sometimes we make the wrong call,” the spokesperson told CoinDesk. “When it's brought to our attention that a video has been removed mistakenly, we act quickly to reinstate it.” YouTube doesn’t have any explicit ban in place on cryptocurrency content.
It’s unclear what happened — One YouTuber who was affected, Chris Dunn, speculates that his videos were either maliciously reported by a bad actor, or caught up in a faulty algorithm. In a tweet, he says YouTube initially told him that his videos were removed for violating the platform’s prohibitions on “harmful or dangerous content” and “sale of regulated goods.” Dunn makes videos regarding investing in cryptocurrency, which doesn’t clearly fall into these categories. Financial education videos are common on the site.
According to Dunn, not all of the videos deleted from his channel have been reinstated yet. CoinDesk reports videos are still missing from some other related channels as well.
Platform headaches — The deletions, and YouTube’s quick reversal, are another example of the company’s algorithms making cold, automated decisions that cause major headaches for creators, many of whom rely on the platform for some or all of their livelihoods. Dunn told CoinDesk he is considering moving his videos to a decentralized platform that isn’t operated by any single entity that can exert complete control. It’s an attractive idea but as YouTube remains the primary place people go to find video content, it would be unlikely to succeed for all but the most popular personalities. Centralized platforms make it much easier to find big audiences, but at the cost of some of the freedom the internet originally promised us.
YouTube emphasized in its statement to CoinDesk that creators can always appeal removals and that their content will be re-reviewed. The company has also recently made it easier for creators to address copyright infringement claims.