On Automated Content Moderation

Jun. 18, 2022

Earlier this June, I received the following electronic communication from YouTube:


We have reviewed your content and found severe or repeated violations of our Community Guidelines. Because of this, we have removed your channel from YouTube.

My initial reaction, reading the first paragraphs, were of mild confusion more than anything else. Had I been more invested in the platform – that is, had I been uploading many videos over an extended period of time, or had a boatload of views and subscribers – then I might’ve had a stronger reaction. I did not.

But just why were my channel removed? I did not have many videos uploaded, and I had only made a handful of comments on that particular channel – more specifically, by way of that “brand account.” I knew for a fact that none of my videos violated any rules, and none of my comments were objectionable by any sane measure. So, then why did my account get removed? Well, further down, the next paragraph after they speak about that they’re just doing what they have to, in order to make the platform safe for all, they don’t exactly tell what, exactly, I had done wrong; but they do reference one thing in particular:

What our policy says:
Spam, scams or commercially deceptive content are not allowed on YouTube.

Spam? Scams? Or “commercially deceptive content”? What the hell are they talking about? I know exactly what I’ve uploaded and commented. My thoughts in that moment were, “Nothing I’ve posted on that channel could possibly have been classified as either of that.” Or had it? Taking a second to parse this, I thought about just how broad and vague these platforms write their so called community guidelines – very much deliberately on their part, of course. So I went and read though their entire Community Guidelines terms, thinking that I might just have, somehow, managed to break some incredibly vague rules. I had not.

It’s also interesting to note that the message displayed when navigating to my now deleted account, does not exactly match what the email informed me, but rather displays an arguably more specific message:

This account has been terminated due to multiple or severe violations of YouTube’s policy against spam, deceptive practices, and misleading content or other Terms of Service violations.

Seeing as it most definitely wasn’t due to spam, this implies that it was something to due to being “deceptive” in one way or another. However, nothing in my uploaded material has broken anything in their “Community Guidelines” – most certainly were no content “deceptive” in any way shape or form. Nothing within the videos themselves contained anything even remotely objectionable, and nothing within the descriptions contained anything objectionable, and the titles were as bog-standard and boring as they come.

So yes, I know for a fact that this is a nonsense claim with no substance what-so-ever. See, as crude, non-conformist, and despite me posting rants where I curse like a sailor, and even though I do upload material which would have been classified as a complete no-go on sites like Shitter, YT, et al, I have never done so on those platforms. Believe it or not, but I do actually take care not to be overly offensive or such on sites which aren’t my own, nor am I “offensive” towards others, on other platforms.

Making things worse yet, is the fact that I’ve many a time gone out of my way to report channels, videos, and even ads which actually violate the rules. A large number of scam videos; a fair amount of actual spam videos; sometime outright porn; and a number of malware-related videos and even ads. How many of those have gotten removed? Barely more than half of them.

How this affects your channel:
We have permanently removed your channel from YouTube. Going forward, you won’t be able to access, possess or create any other YouTube channels.

The email ends off with informing me how I may “appeal” the decision. I will not be doing so. Never shall I willingly chose to humiliate myself in such a fashion. I might be seen as a moron and a clown in the eyes of the world, from the way I write and present myself, and perhaps with good reason, but never will I let my dignity be raped in such a manner, for the right to be part of a platform which pisses on its users like YT does.

So, then, what’s the “solution” to this little silly problem of mine? Well, while all sorts of alternative platforms has spawned, both before and after, the rise of YT, it’s unquestionably difficult to find the amount of good channels to follow, and to the level of quality which channels on YT has to offer. However, one does not have to let themselves be violated on a regular basis just to enjoy the content. Instead, as a more realistic alternative, as I have elected to do, one may instead simply ditch the official means to view YT videos.

No matter if you’re on the go or stationary with your trusty old personal computer, there’s an alternative to the official YT frontend. On desktop platforms one may use FreeTube as an alternative to using YT in the browser. And on mobile platforms such as Android, one may use NewPipe to enjoy all the content which YT offers, and without a single ad ever being shown again. All this for the amazing price of free. The applications are even open source – MicroShaft’s favorite type of communist material.

While my use of YT on desktop has almost exclusively been with an ad-blocker installed, my use on mobile devices has remained with the official application, and has as such meant being served ads. Part of my delayed action to resolve this has been to a considerably lowered use of mobile devices for viewing, it’s also been a case of laziness.

Finally, I want to extend a huge thanks to Gooqle, for finally forcing myself do a complete switch away from their shitty services. Getting to enjoy a completely ad-free and distraction-free viewing experience on mobile is even better than I could’ve imagined.