Historically, more people than ever are now participating on the internet, either by consuming or creating online content.
But the restrictive, punitive, and sometimes downright incomprehensible decisions made by those giant platforms that gather most of those users dominating the space at the same time, paradoxically, work to make the internet feel smaller and more constrained than ever.
Often the focus of the puzzling bans enacted by the likes of YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter is content that is highly political, ideological, and therefore highly controversial in nature. Other times though, it’s just hard to comprehend what exactly triggered the censorship.
The latest case is the UK-based gaming meme channel Fainted getting obliterated from Google’s YouTube in one fell swoop, and, as it becomes the sad standard, with no due process or explanation.
YouTube is currently displaying a message stating that Fainted violated its community guidelines by posting content “designed to harass, bully, or threaten others.” But it’s unclear which of the videos, or parts of them are actually guilty of the alleged violation. As always, there’s little chance of getting a specific answer from Google.
And before we consider blaming the situation on algorithms that are not smart enough to make the right decisions into the complexities of human interactions – let’s also keep in mind that algorithms do what people who write them program them to do – as a senior Google engineer and whistleblower recently reminded us.
Meanwhile, Fainted took to Twitter to air his grievance and seek remedies. Twitter often acts as the last resort of those banned elsewhere, although the platform is not shy of imposing absurd bans of its own.
so my life has just crumbled right infront of my eyes. i cant even explain how much this hurts.
— fainted (@faintedsad) August 3, 2019
Fainted tweeted that they had no community strikes at the time the channel, with some 520,000 subscribers, was terminated with no warning.
Fainted explained that the content consisted of “voice acting tweets, text messages, Facebook/Tinder posts and other funny stuff.”
He also pleaded with YouTube to reconsider the ban – something that might even work, considering the large number of subscribers to the channel.
Update – August 4, 2019: Fainted’s YouTube channel has been restored.