ShareThis Page
Technology

What causes YouTube to take down videos?

| Saturday, April 7, 2018, 9:00 p.m.
In this Dec. 1, 2017, file photo, YouTube personality Logan Paul arrives at Jingle Ball in Inglewood, Calif. Paul caused a social media furor in January after he posted video of himself in a forest near Mount Fuji in Japan near what appeared to be a body hanging from a tree. YouTube suspended the 22-year-old at the time for violating its policies. But Paul returned, and has posted a video of himself using a Taser on dead rats. That spurred YouTube to temporarily suspend all ads from PaulÕs channel after what it called a pattern of behavior unsuitable for advertisers.
Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP
In this Dec. 1, 2017, file photo, YouTube personality Logan Paul arrives at Jingle Ball in Inglewood, Calif. Paul caused a social media furor in January after he posted video of himself in a forest near Mount Fuji in Japan near what appeared to be a body hanging from a tree. YouTube suspended the 22-year-old at the time for violating its policies. But Paul returned, and has posted a video of himself using a Taser on dead rats. That spurred YouTube to temporarily suspend all ads from PaulÕs channel after what it called a pattern of behavior unsuitable for advertisers.
In this Oct. 28, 2013 file photo, Felix 'PewDiePie' Kjellberg's arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of 'Ender's Game' at TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles. In February 2017, YouTube distanced itself from Kjellberg, after he made jokes construed as anti-Semitic and posted Nazi imagery in his videos.
In this Oct. 28, 2013 file photo, Felix 'PewDiePie' Kjellberg's arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of 'Ender's Game' at TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles. In February 2017, YouTube distanced itself from Kjellberg, after he made jokes construed as anti-Semitic and posted Nazi imagery in his videos.
In this April 3, 2018, file photo, a YouTube sign is shown across the street from the company's offices in San Bruno, Calif. News that the shooter at YouTube’s headquarters Tuesday felt that the tech company was suppressing her videos puts the spotlight on YouTube’s policies surrounding videos and the ads that support them.
In this April 3, 2018, file photo, a YouTube sign is shown across the street from the company's offices in San Bruno, Calif. News that the shooter at YouTube’s headquarters Tuesday felt that the tech company was suppressing her videos puts the spotlight on YouTube’s policies surrounding videos and the ads that support them.
Police tape is shown outside of a YouTube office building in San Bruno, Calif., Wednesday, April 4, 2018. A woman suspected of shooting three people at YouTube headquarters before killing herself was furious with the company because it had stopped paying her for videos she posted on the platform, her father said Tuesday, April 3, 2018.
Police tape is shown outside of a YouTube office building in San Bruno, Calif., Wednesday, April 4, 2018. A woman suspected of shooting three people at YouTube headquarters before killing herself was furious with the company because it had stopped paying her for videos she posted on the platform, her father said Tuesday, April 3, 2018.
Police tape is shown outside of a YouTube office building in San Bruno, Calif., Wednesday, April 4, 2018. A woman suspected of shooting three people at YouTube headquarters before killing herself was furious with the company because it had stopped paying her for videos she posted on the platform, her father said Tuesday, April 3, 2018.
Police tape is shown outside of a YouTube office building in San Bruno, Calif., Wednesday, April 4, 2018. A woman suspected of shooting three people at YouTube headquarters before killing herself was furious with the company because it had stopped paying her for videos she posted on the platform, her father said Tuesday, April 3, 2018.
This March 20, 2018, file photo shows the YouTube app on an iPad in Baltimore. News that the shooter at YouTube’s headquarters Tuesday, April 3, 2018, felt that the tech company was suppressing her videos puts the spotlight on YouTube’s policies surrounding videos and the ads that support them.
This March 20, 2018, file photo shows the YouTube app on an iPad in Baltimore. News that the shooter at YouTube’s headquarters Tuesday, April 3, 2018, felt that the tech company was suppressing her videos puts the spotlight on YouTube’s policies surrounding videos and the ads that support them.

NEW YORK — YouTube often takes action against videos that violate its guidelines and has well-established procedures for doing so.

The “YouTubers” who produce videos and post them on the site aren't always happy about its decisions, but their discontent rarely leads to violence.

That may have changed Tuesday, when Nasim Aghdam — herself a YouTuber — shot and wounded three people at YouTube headquarters in San Bruno, Calif., before killing herself.

The 39-year-old told family members that she believed the company was suppressing her videos, which included segments about veganism, animal cruelty and exercise, along with glamour shots of herself. YouTube had no comment about any actions related to Aghdam's videos.

But Aghdam's father said his daughter was angry that YouTube stopped paying for videos she posted on the platform and warned police she might go to the company's headquarters. Here's a brief explanation of YouTube's video policies and the steps it can take against violators.

YouTube rules

The tragic shooting highlights the often difficult balance that YouTube tries to strike between protecting freedom of expression and barring videos that violate its prohibitions against violence, extremism and other objectionable material.

YouTube, which is owned by Google, doesn't allow nudity, hate speech, violent behavior, harassment, bullying or impersonating others, among other things. Posting copyrighted material is also forbidden. But the site has over 1 billion users in 88 countries and 1 billion hours watched daily, it says, and that can be difficult to police.

“The scale of the challenge is something that's hard for anyone to wrap their minds around,” said Paul Verna, a principal analyst at eMarketer. “It's a little bit like the game whack-a-mole.”

Advertising limits

YouTube has been tightening restrictions for its ad program since last year, when some large corporations began boycotting the site because their ads were turning up next to clips promoting terrorism and racism. That March, Google promised to hire more human reviewers and upgrade its technology to keep ads away from repugnant videos.

In January, YouTube changed a key benchmark for a program that lets YouTubers with smaller audiences make money from advertising that appears next to their videos. The change, the company said, aimed to strengthen “requirements for monetization” to prevent spammers and other malicious actors from exploiting the service.

The change meant that YouTubers wouldn't get paid unless they had more than 1,000 subscribers with 4,000 hours of viewing time in the past year. Previously, they only needed 10,000 lifetime views of their video channels.

A bigger hammer

Some famous YouTubers have gotten crosswise with the site. YouTube star Logan Paul caused a furor in January after he posted video of himself in a Japanese forest on Mount Fuji near what appeared to be a body hanging from a tree. YouTube suspended the 22-year-old at the time for violating its policies.

But Paul returned and subsequently posted a video of himself using a Taser on dead rats. That spurred YouTube to temporarily suspend all ads from Paul's channel after what it called a pattern of behavior unsuitable for advertisers.

It also led YouTube to update its policies with new steps it can take against violators. It can now slap age restrictions on some material, shut off the flow of money from ads, delete particular videos and blacklist channels from its powerful recommendation and trending lists. A “strike system” can eventually lead to a channel being terminated altogether.

In February 2017, YouTube distanced itself from Felix Kjellberg, a top YouTube star known online as PewDiePie, after he made jokes construed as anti-Semitic and posted Nazi imagery in his videos.

At the time, YouTube canceled the release of the second season of Kjellberg's reality show “Scare PewDiePie” and removed the PewDiePie channel from an advertising program that brought together popular YouTube videos for advertisers to buy time on.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me