Jessica Kennedy, Contributing Writer |
YouTube has many rules when it comes to what is considered appropriate content on its website. Sometimes these rules are followed too closely without looking at the channels suspected of breaking the rules. Other times, these rules are easily broken, which allows inappropriate posters to get away with illegal content. On Feb. 17, Google shut down the channels of three YouTubers with the justification that these creators were promoting child abuse. The three content creators who had their channels taken down for the false child abuse allegations are well known, all with around a million subscribers. Mystic7 has 1,741,566 subscribers, Trainer Tips has 837,708, and ImMarksman has 1,020,617. These YouTubers and their many fans were confused as to why their channels got seemingly randomly deleted.
YouTube’s child safety policy forbids sexualization, harmful or dangerous acts, infliction of emotional distress on minors, misleading family content, and cyberbullying and harassment involving minors. The three channels banned are not inappropriate or abusive channels but actually gaming channels that upload videogame related content.
A theory for why Google mistook these channels for ones that promote child abuse is the repetition of the letters “CP.” In the game Pokémon Go, these letters mean “Combat Points,” which determine how much damage a Pokémon can inflict on its opponent. In YouTube’s eyes, these letters are typically referred to as child pornography, which is strictly forbidden on its site. This mix-up in translation with YouTube’s automated flagging system has been adjusted, and the YouTubers’ channels are back on the website.
The misunderstanding between the creators and YouTube administration has many of its users questioning the effectiveness of the company’s monitoring of child abuse. While child-safe channels were taken down, many other channels and viewers displaying inappropriate exploitation and treating of minors still find their place on the internet site. Pedophiles in comment sections of channels displaying child nudity manage to be overlooked by the site’s monitoring for this type of prohibited content. Many major companies such as AT&T and Hasbro have removed their advertising from YouTube due to ads running before these inappropriate videos showing child nudity, allowing the poster to get money for their illegal content.
YouTube has deleted many accounts that display these types of illegal videos and has altered comment sections to disable any type of predatory content, yet some channels still get overlooked. Viewers and concerned parents of viewers are hoping YouTube and Google will pay more attention to this kind of content and make less mistakes incorrectly banning innocent channels and overlooking predatory channels.