YouTube briefly removed the ‘I Can't Believe You've Done This’ meme video
How many years it was on YouTube before being pulled.
After 14 years, 12 million views, and countless memes later, YouTube’s content moderation gods briefly decided to remove the original “I Can’t Believe You’ve Done This” video, citing its violation of the company’s “violence and graphic content policy.”
Yes, that “I Can’t Believe You’ve Done This” video. You know, the 7-second one that is neither particularly violent, nor graphic. Here, have a rewatch, why don’t you?
You might be wondering to yourself, “Wait, I thought YouTube removed the video for content violations? Then how is this video — a reupload featuring the same clip repeated literally over 1 million times — still online?” These are very good questions, and the meme’s originator, Paul Weedon, shares your bewilderment.
‘That’s that then’ — “We won’t be able to check why other videos like yours is still up since we are not able to see that. You can report those videos if that is the case,” a YouTube customer service agent apparently told Weedon when he voiced similar frustrations. “Well, that's that then. A fittingly stupid end to a stupid era,” Weedon tweeted upon posting a screenshot indicating he had lost his appeal to YouTube.
We actually can believe YouTube did this — Weedon, who is working with friends on a documentary exploring his life as an internet meme, summed up YouTube’s absurd hypocrisies well during his Twitter thread recounting the original video’s strange saga. “Extremely excited to be here at the forefront of YouTube cleaning up its act,” he wrote. “Can't wait to see it remove all of the racist, homophobic and violent content that a 15 year old clip of me being lamped in the face is worse than, absolutely no question.”
YouTube’s content policies have long facilitated the spread of dangerous misinformation and hate speech while simultaneously flagging completely unproblematic videos. To see someone behind the curtain randomly deem a well-known 14-year-old video of two teens goofing around inappropriate feels extremely, if unfortunately, on brand for the company.
Of course, Weedon’s video will continue to live on eternally through both the wonders and horrors of the internet, so there’s no chance of the clip disappearing for good. Maybe YouTube can get around to dealing with those actually problematic anti-vaxx videos next.
Update: YouTube reached out to Wheedon via Twitter on Wednesday afternoon, informing him the video has been reinstated citing a “mistake on our end.” We’ve edited the story to reflect this.