YouTube reported that 5.9 million videos were removed from its platform in the fourth quarter of last year for violating community guidelines. For comparison: A tiny fragment – that corresponds to 1.9% of the removed videos from that time – was the subject of appeals to rethink YouTube. And only 23,471 appointments were successful in the fourth quarter.
Videos resumed in the fourth quarter may reflect complaints and moves that occurred in earlier periods. However, a single quarter of YouTube’s complaints and reinstatements data indicate a 78% error rate for complaints.
The obscure appeal process on YouTube, whichis an ongoing complaint from the creators. In a YouTubers Union campaign, YouTube is even explicitly asked to set up an appeals process . The Friday transparency report contained the appointment data for the first time – but only for a single quarter of last year – a step towards more transparency with regard to the appointment statistics.
At the same time, however, YouTube is complained thatthat have to be removed.
Earlier this month, the father of a journalist who was killed during a live broadcast filed a federal complaint against YouTube alleging that the company had not recorded videos of their murder. The complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission states that the victim's family has been confronted with "empty promises and direct lies" by YouTube. YouTube replied that it prohibits videos that aim to violently shock or accuse victims of being part of a joke, that it rigorously enforces these guidelines, and has removed thousands of copies of this video.
Among other trends in video removal data:
- YouTube has been removing fewer videos recently. YouTube saw a sharp drop in relocations in the last three months of 2019 compared to any other period since the end of 2017. Video relocations decreased 32% year over year and year ago. This was the biggest change (in either case, direction) of any period in the data.
- Videos removed for child safety were increased at the end of last year. The percentage of videos removed for child safety policy violation increased in the last three months of 2019. In the fourth quarter, it rose to 15.8% after child safety removal ranged from 8.4% to 9, 7% of all videos removed in each video were different reported time periods. YouTube takes down videos about child safety if it threatens the emotional and physical well-being of minors. The time when child safety removal jumped coincided with the time that YouTube began to tighten its rules for videos aimed at child viewers. This was part of an allegation agreement that it violated children's privacy when targeting ads.
- Spam is the main reason why YouTube removes videos, but it's steadily declining. The percentage of spam and misleading videos that YouTube removed gradually decreased from 72.2% of moves in September 2018 to only 52% of moves at the end of last year.
- YouTube suddenly started getting many more violent and graphic videos in the middle of last year. While spam video removal is decreasing, the percentage of violent and graphic video removed from YouTube has increased, especially in the last half of 2019. The percentage of violent / graphic video removal was low to mid-way through most quarters single digit range last year, but then rose to 15.5% of moves in the third quarter. This percentage cooled somewhat, but remained elevated in the fourth quarter with 9.8% of moves.
YouTube did not respond to a message looking for a comment on these trends.
Originally published February 28, 9:37 am, PT.
Update, 1:46 p.m. PT : Adds more trends to remove YouTube.