On January 4, 2018 our Youtube channel was terminated. The answer to our appeal from the Youtube team was prompt. Here it is:
In other words, the Youtube team has not found any violation of the Youtube Community Guidelines or Terms of Service on our channel. Therefore, there is a reason to suspect that the termination occurred as a result of false reporting from some “well-wisher” who flagged allegedly critical violations on the channel.
Now, when the dust has settled a little, we tried to understand what we may offer in order to reduce the probability of fake reporting on Youtube.
But first we want to say once more:
A huge thank you to the Youtube team and all our friends for their prompt response and support! We would not be able to solve the problem without you!
How Reporting Works
The Youtube user can report violations of the Youtube Community Guidelines or Terms of Service on someone’s channel. If the violation is uncritical, then the owner of such a channel receives a notification of violation with a requirement to fix it. If the owner solves the problem, then the strike is removed. If the owner ignores the warning, after the third time his or her channel is terminated.
But there are critical violations when the channel is terminated instantly. We do not know all the details, but it seems that in such cases termination happens automatically – right after reporting the violation. This approach is absolutely correct in case when critical violations do really exist and therefore delay with the termination is highly undesirable.
But in case when there are no any violation, and the report is false – for example, someone decides to hurt the competitor – then the termination harms the honest channel. Also, there are big moral and reputation losses.
Youtube’s reputation suffers too: such situations stir strong negative emotions, and people often blame just Youtube for bad consequences of that all.
So, we have a paradox: the system, which was conceived as an effective tool for combating violations, itself can be used for violations.
How to Reduce Likelihood of Such Undesirable Situations?
A possible solution may be that the right to report critical violations (that lead to the instant channel termination) should be given only to persons who have a good reputation on Youtube. In some social networks this is called “karma.”
Accounts recently created or without any activity have a low karma. If the user is known for his or her unscrupulous behavior, then the karma is negative. If the user is known for his or her positive contribution, then the karma is positive.
Only users with a high positive karma have the right to take actions with critical consequences.
Any user can report any violations but an instant critical reaction (= channel termination) should occur only if the user has a sufficiently high positive karma.
Using a similar approach on Youtube may reduce the likelihood of fake reporting because attackers would know that their actions will be revealed in time and so their attacks will not be effective.
What do you think?
In order not to finish the post on a very serious note – a little portion of the winter mood: