Facepalm: YouTube removes a lot of videos for ToS violations, but the company doesn’t always get it right. The Google-owned service has just reinstated several popular YouTube channels after deleting them over mistaken child abuse concerns.
The BBC reports that Mystic7, Trainer Tips, and ImMarksman, who have over 3.5 million combined subscribers, were some of the YouTube channels that found themselves deleted. This happened after they posted videos of them playing Pokémon Go, which they were told violated the site’s community guidelines as "YouTube prohibits uploading [...] any type of activity that sexualizes minors."
While this sounds like someone has the wrong idea about Pokémon, the actual reason behind the strikes is thought to be the term ‘CP.’ In the Pokémon Go world, it refers to ‘Combat Points,’ but it’s used as an acronym for ‘Child Pornography’ across much of the internet.
In case anyone at @TeamYouTube is taking notes on today's mishap, CP stands for Combat Points. I'm on board with fighting back against inappropriate content, but your algorithm needs a lesson in CONTEXT.— Nick // Trainer Tips (@trnrtips) 17 February 2019
Also, just to reiterate, MANUAL REVIEW BY A HUMAN BEFORE TERMINATION pic.twitter.com/qHLP5GGe9J
YouTuber Billiam Thies found that his YouTube channel had been removed and his entire Google account deleted after posting a video about former online game Club Penguin, which was called ‘CP’ in the title.
Google says a large percentage of the videos YouTube removes—6.3 million during Q3 last year—are initially flagged by machines before being forwarded to human moderators for deletion. What’s unusual here is that even after many of the videos were reviewed, they were still deemed to have violated YouTube’s guidelines. The company didn’t say whether a human or machine performed these reviews.
When Thinknoodles, a channel with over 4 million subscribers, questioned this process on Twitter, YouTube said it had passed the case on to its Policy team for review (again?), which led to the video being reinstated. YouTube never revealed why the initial review concluded that the video contained sexual content involving minors.
Haha really?? Did you REALLY review it and determine that a Club Penguin walkthrough violated community guidelines because it was sexually provocative????— Thinknoodles (@Thinknoodles) 17 February 2019
I mean, I’m sure it was cringy, but I think your review process needs some work. @TeamYouTube pic.twitter.com/jBXn4c4BvA
“With the massive volume of videos on our site, sometimes we make the wrong call,” a YouTube rep told Polygon. “When it’s brought to our attention that a video or channel has been removed mistakenly, we act quickly to reinstate it. We give uploaders the ability to appeal these decisions and we will re-review the videos.”
While all the videos have now been restored, this has been another PR black eye for YouTube, especially with the site facing criticism for not doing enough to tackle actual sexually exploitative content featuring children.