Yesterday, YouTube banned a series of cryptocurrency-related educational videos in what many are referring to as a ‘Crypto Purge.’
International blockchain speaker and educator, Ivan on Tech, tweeted that a live feed on his YouTube channel was removed for “harmful or dangerous content.”
YOUTUBE CRYPTO PURGE IS BACK!!
Our channel has a strike as soon as I started a new live stream.
WE NEED HELP ON THIS MATTER!
SHARE THIS!!!! pic.twitter.com/630Mp3al8d
— Ivan on Tech (@IvanOnTech) February 23, 2020
The Ivan on Tech YouTube channel has around 215,000 subscribers and posts videos on cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.
Another crypto enthusiast and YouTuber, CryptoWendyO, experienced a similar problem: her live stream was deemed in violation of YouTube’s community guidelines and featuring harmful or dangerous content.
I understand you have an overwhelming majority of requests, but I do believe this was unjust and unfair.
You need to fix your algo & do a better job of taking care of you content creators pic.twitter.com/QVhUYWYyvm
— Wendy O (Watch CoinHQ.tv) (@CryptoWendyO) February 24, 2020
Both YouTubers have filed appeals but did not receive a reply from the video-sharing platform for several days.
These two incidents have sparked outrage from followers of the crypto channels, who argue that the world needs a decentralized content-sharing platform. They contend that there is a dire need for an alternate blockchain-based platform that is censorship-resistant and has options for monetizing content.
Crypto leaders Changpeng Zhao (CEO of Binance) and Vitalik Buterin (co-founder of Ethereum) welcomed this idea:
It may be time the #crypto community take a stab at its own blockchain-enabled sensorship-resistent social media platform.
Lots of challenges though, spam, scam, trolls, incentives, copyright, token economics, governance, stickiness, privacy… But
It’s about time!
— CZ Binance 🔶🔶🔶 (@cz_binance) December 25, 2019
I would also really welcome experimentation in this area. https://t.co/8tvezlO96H
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) December 25, 2019
YouTube Intentionally Censored Crypto Channels
This is not the first time YouTube has been accused of censoring cryptocurrency-related content either.
In December 2019, YouTube mistakenly purged hundreds of cryptocurrency videos and channels from its platform. The deleted content had been uploaded by several channels, including ChrisDunnTV, CryptoTips, The Moon, and BTC Sessions.
YouTubers were understandably frustrated with their video purges. For instance, Chris Dunn, whose channel is aimed at investment education, tweeted:
.@YouTube just removed most of my crypto videos citing "harmful or dangerous content" and "sale of regulated goods"… it's been 10 years of making videos, 200k+ subs, and 7M+ views. WTF are you guys doing @TeamYouTube?! pic.twitter.com/MPcKbBVrC4
— Chris Dunn (@ChrisDunnTV) December 23, 2019
Dunn had multiple videos on cryptocurrency-related content purged from his YouTube channel after they were flagged as “harmful or dangerous content” and “sale of regulated goods.”
Although Dunn appealed the move – he does not sell products on his channel or monetize his videos through advertisement – a significant number of videos deleted from his channel remained inaccessible.
Other YouTubers experienced the same problem: their videos were not reinstated for several days even after they appealed. In fact, many did not get any response to their appeals at all.
Hi @TeamYouTube with over 100 videos removed & 2 strikes in 24 hours I have still not even received an email from you. This is really scary. We've hired new staff. I have a wife & baby to support. I can't fix the problem if I don't know what I've done or who to communicate with!?
— Alex Saunders (@AlexSaundersAU) December 26, 2019
The December purge led to widespread speculation over why the YouTube videos were purged in the first place. Many content creators saw the removal as YouTube targeting crypto-related content because it contradicted the platform’s advertising interests.
YouTube Apologized, Promised Better Review Processes
As vloggers and publishers took to twitter to express their frustration, YouTube admitted that the crypto purge was an error.
A statement released by the platform acknowledged that it had made the wrong call citing massive volumes of content on the site as a reason for the mistake. A YouTube spokesperson further clarified that it had not made any changes to its policy regarding cryptocurrency content and that the purge was unintentional.
Additionally, YouTube promised users that moving forward, content disputes – including those pertaining to copyright – would be handled seamlessly and swiftly.
Nevertheless, with crypto-related content being purged from the platform again, many Bitcoin, crypto, and blockchain bloggers are wondering if YouTube has initiated another crypto purge.