YouTube Blocked My Video Questioning Content Blocking Practices

Sara Karnoscak
3 min readMay 1, 2021

Yesterday I hosted a virtual event entitled Re-Evaluating Social Media: Where do we go from here?, where we discussed issues surrounding social media including algorithms, content moderation and privacy. In an ironic twist, the YouTube Live video of our panel discussion was blocked less than 12 hours after our livestream. Below is a screenshot of the e-mail notification I received.

And another of the video details.

Why it would have been flagged as spam, deceptive, or a scam is an utter mystery (you can watch the full video on Vimeo, even if you can’t watch it on YouTube), but it does a perfect job of illustrating exactly what we spoke about in the video itself.

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As our panelist, Jihan Varisco of The Flip Side, says in our discussion: “I think it’s complicated because it’s not always that simple to define, sort of, bad speech, and you have the question of who gets to do that? Is it Mark Zuckerberg? Is it the government? Is it someone else?… To me the big issue is transparency. I mean there’s a lot of issues with, for example, Facebook. They ban some content and don’t ban other content. And it’s not super clear to a lot of people how that works, why it works, are they biased toward one side? And you often don’t get an explanation. Someone will say, oh my post was removed and they just said it violated our terms and they won’t say what term or why it happened. And then people say, well clearly you hate me, you’re biased. And no one really knows. And so I think the real issue is whatever standards you want, you should make them very clear and you should explain how you’re implementing them. So if you say we’re banning this post for hate speech, explain what about the post we think is hate speech, here’s why. Just give people a reason for what you’re doing rather than just have this black box where it just spits out some thing, and no one trusts that.”