YouTube Reverses Mass Crypto Content Deletion

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YouTube has begun reinstating cryptocurrency content it deleted en masse over the Christmas period, citing errors in the review process. The video giant, owned by Google, had come under fire on Christmas Eve as it quietly removed thousands of hours of content, but has since reversed the move, citing errors in the review process

YouTube’s Christmas ‘Present’

Reports started trickling through on December 24 that some YouTube content providers had seen their entire back catalogues of content, many containing thousands of hours of work stretching back years, deleted in one fell swoop by the platform. Soon, crypto Twitter was awash with complaints from content providers both large and small that the same thing had happened:

Confusing Reasoning

YouTube’s reasons for deleting the content made little to no sense, with deletion notices citing all sorts of ridiculous rule violations, such as ‘inappropriate content’, ‘harmful or dangerous content’, and ‘promotion of certain regulated goods and services’. This being crypto, conspiracy theories were quick to emerge, from Google reinstating the anti-crypto stance that saw cryptocurrency adverts banned during 2018, to a small cartel using the YouTube reporting mechanism to get the videos:

Personal vendettas even got an airing, with some suggesting that the inclusion of referral links for personal benefit were the problem, or that individual projects might even be behind it:

YouTube couldn’t have picked a more militant bunch than crypto enthusiasts to inconvenience, with many bemoaning the overreaching governance of huge tech corporations and their ability to silence free speech. Once it emerged that the same violations were being blanket-applied across the crypto space, eyes soon turned towards a potential algorithm malfunction:

YouTube Admits “Review Process” Error

YouTube finally admitted on Thursday to one user that “an error on our side during the review process” was the reason for their videos to have been retrospectively banned, reasoning that was soon applied across the board as content creators saw their videos reinstated over the 26th and 27th. This was still a bridge too far for many content creators though, with some speaking out about their intentions to explore other avenues on which to release their content:

Bigger Problems at Heart

It is highly likely that once the furore has died down, those content creators who abandoned YouTube will return to it, having found that decentralized alternatives are simply not as convenient or easy to use as YouTube or have anything like the reach they are used to.

The Great YouTube Purge of 2019 may not have been the end-of-days event that many predicted in the first few hours, but the very fact that it can happen at all, regardless of the reasons behind it, should be concerning on a much bigger level.