By: Amy Morrison
For 15 years, YouTube has been a place where regular people can make videos and become famous for doing what they love to do. In more recent years, YouTube has had it’s slew of problems whether it be the content that’s being posted on their site or the types of people they allow to use their platform.
Obviously, a platform with the scale of YouTube has it’s way of dealing with said problems. YouTube can demonetize videos, take whole videos down, or give YouTubers a strike. Demonetization is basically how it sounds. If a video isn’t as appropriate as YouTube would like, it can demonetize those videos, which means that no ads run on the video and the creator gets no money from it. Now if a video is far too mature or graphic for anyone to see, YouTube can take whole videos down so that no one can see it. Taking down videos normally also goes hand in hand with giving the creator a “strike.” A strike is basically a warning and if you know anything about baseball, it’s the same idea: three strikes and you’re out. Or in this case, your account is.
Now this system seems great on paper because with all of those ways to keep YouTube and its content safe and appropriate for almost every one to watch, everything must run smoothly and correctly. Well, that’s not quite the case. The way YouTube even finds videos to take down is through a manual reporting system. Viewers have to report content that they find inappropriate because YouTube physically can not monitor every single video on it’s platform without thousands of more people working for them. So the viewers report instead and the people who work at YouTube manually review those reports and the associated videos and decide whether or not they’re appropriate enough to stay on the platform.
Now this brings up a whole new issue which is human error or, more accurately in this case, human apathy. In the last few weeks, many creators, most notably penguinz0 or Moist Critical and Markiplier, have had their videos taken down because they reportedly included a clip of “violent or graphic content.” The clip in question is a staged Russian dash cam video that most people would argue is hardly graphic. The video was very popular a few years ago, was never taken down then, but is now being labeled as “violent or graphic content.” Penguinz0 was the first to bring it to attention when he made a video on his channel talking about how his video gets taken down and he was given a strike because it had a clip of a staged fight while there are channels that abuse animals that have thousands of subscribers and still get views.
Penguinz0 made another point that Markiplier had a video with the same exact clip in it that was still up. Markiplier agreed that it was biased and basically dared YouTube to take down his video and give him a strike as well. Unsurprisingly, YouTube did exactly that. Both creators tried to appeal the strike, but were publicly rejected on Twitter. Markiplier, who is arguably one of the biggest creators on YouTube with 26.8 million subscribers, and Penguinz0 both made multiple tweets about how unconventional YouTube’s reporting algorithm and human appeal system is. Eventually, their commotion influenced YouTube to respond to them saying that their videos and everyone else’s would be put back up again, their strikes would be taken away, and the platform would try to put some changes into place.
Despite the happy ending, both Markiplier and penguinz0 are adamant that things need to change with YouTube’s algorithm and their reasoning is hard to argue with. The general consensus from most people involved with YouTube is that their priorities need to change and better action needs to be taken.