Netizen Report: Why Did YouTube Censor Your Videos? You May Never Know.
Global Voices Advocacy's Netizen Report offers an international snapshot of challenges, victories, and emerging trends in Internet rights ar

Netizen Report Team

Publisher:  GlobalVoices
Date Written:  23/03/2017
Year Published:  2017  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX20579

Amid an apparent shift in YouTube’s approach to monitoring for rules violations and staying in the good graces of advertisers, a wave of YouTube users have found their work either blocked or relegated to "restricted" mode in recent months.



The blocks raise critical questions about the partly technical, partly human-driven process that YouTube uses to spot videos that violate its terms or qualify as inappropriate for younger viewers. While some types of content -- such as videos clearly intended to be pornographic -- are easy to identify and remove, others are not. And in many cases, the process begins with YouTube users themselves, who are free to report content if they think it's breaking the rules. This mechanism plays a powerful role in how the company sets priorities for content removal -- and it sometimes results in abuse by users intent on silencing people they disagree with.

These examples illustrate the importance of corporate transparency surrounding content removal decisions, both on the individual and platform-wide level. The issue is emphasized in the Ranking Digital Rights Index for 2017 (released this week), which measures against a comprehensive set of international human rights standards as they exist in the digital realm.

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