My Data Done Right launched: check your data!

YouTube puts uploaders, viewers and itself in a tough position

Donateursdag 2018: Zo kan jij ons helpen

A pattern is emerging. After blocking a controversial video, YouTube nonpologizes for doing so, and reinstates the video... just to block it again a few months later. The procedures around content moderation need to improve, but that's not all: more needs to change.

Sorry and sorry again

In June we reported that YouTube, at the time of writing, had already taken down Women on Waves' accounts three times this yearWomen on Waves’ three YouTube suspensions this year . All three times without proper justification. And as if that wasn't ridiculous enough, their account was taken down a fourth time just as they were being interviewed by the Dutch television program NieuwsuurItem on Dutch television on erroneous take downs on YouTube about the previous takedowns. Again without notice, and without a satisfactory explanation. YouTube subsquently did what it has done many times before: the company issued a nonpology and reinstated the account - until the next takedown of course.

Warning: watch out with blocking

It's odd that an account can be wrongfully blocked several times over the course of just a few months. You would expect that, after an account has been wrongfully blocked once or twice, moderators would receive some sort of warning in the interface: wrongful blocking warning, pay attention! A warning that triggers a process in which an (additional) person is involved as soon as the account is recommended for blocking. A checkbox that ensures blocking or deleting is a well-considered and well-documented choice. Right?

The only solution to all this lies in ensuring that everyone (the uploader, viewer and the platform) has options to choose from.

Preventing only the most obvious mistakes

Of course! However, at best that prevents only the most obvious mistakes. Whether the process to block videos or accounts is or isn't well organized, there will always be controversies. The company will not be able to prevent the occasional moderation error from happening. YouTube is a monopolist with a huge reach. If you're looking for moving images on whatever topic, YouTube is your go-to site. If you want to publish a video and want as many viewers as possible, you can't get around Google's platform. Every decision YouTube makes about whether a video can be accessed through its platform, has the possibility of having an enormous impact.

There's always someone who complains

This becomes especially clear regarding videos that deal with controversial topics. Nieuwsuur gives a few examples: bodily integrity, sexual freedom and cannabis. Of course you'll always be able to find someone somewhere in the world who has a problem with these topics. Reason for YouTube to ban certain videos about these topics upfront, and to quickly remove other videos as soon as someone complains. Videos and accounts disappear if one or more viewers identify them as offensive or if YouTube's computers detect certain images or combinations of words.

Everyone's unhappy

This puts everyone in a tough position: the creator, the viewer and the platform itself. Creators see their videos fall off the internet from time to time and can't do anything about it. Viewers can't watch the videos they want to watch (regardless of their feelings about certain topics). And platforms will never be able to please everyone; opinions will continue to differ. Moreover, due to public and political pressure, a company can no longer decide for itself how to run its platform.

Every decision YouTube makes about whether a video can be accessed through its platform, has the possibility of having an enormous impact.

Give everyone involved options

The only solution to all this lies in ensuring that everyone (the uploader, viewer and the platform) has options to choose from. The only way to do that is to ensure that multiple platforms exist side by side. Each with their own interests, considerations and audience. It enables creators to choose the platform that fits them best. As a viewer you can choose a platform that is as open-minded as you are. And the platform can go back to making its own decisions about what it deems acceptable and what not.

And the beauty of it all: in this scenario the procedures for moderating content become less crucial. If a platform handles complaints in a very sloppy way, then you can simply choose a better functioning alternative, because you're not dependent on that one platform.

Translation provided by Bits of Freedom volunteer Martin van Veen. Original article: YouTube maakt het iedereen lastig: uploader, kijker én zichzelf.

  1. Yossarian

    Heb ik bovenaan dit artikel de link naar het origineel, d.w.z. het in het Nederlands geschreven stuk, over het hoofd gezien?

Geef een reactie

Het e-mailadres wordt niet gepubliceerd.

Deze website gebruikt Akismet om spam te verminderen. Bekijk hoe je reactie-gegevens worden verwerkt.

Help mee en steun ons

Door mijn bijdrage ondersteun ik Bits of Freedom, dat kan maandelijks of eenmalig.