YouTube is considered one of the best platforms to learn about a variety of topics, but it’s not without issues when it comes to censorship. This can have a significant impact on creators when their content gets censored and deleted. Let’s take a close look at how they cope with the issue and how you can avoid censorship violations.
Weed and YouTube censorship
While YouTube’s strict stance against things like extreme violence or pornographic content is generally accepted, some subjects can create a gray area. One such subject is cannabis use. Despite the plant being considered a prohibited substance (although it’s becoming legal in many states and even Canada), there has been a growing number of studies highlighting its medicinal benefits.
This dichotomy creates a dilemma for YouTube. The site struggles to strike a balance between allowing informative content on the matter and removing potentially harmful material. While it initially gave cannabis-related content a great degree of freedom, the site has recently begun purging accounts that promote its use.
In an interview with Forbes, cannabis advocate Arend Richard said that the deletions came swiftly. He added that he only found out about this when he saw other accounts within the cannabis promotion community removed at a fast pace.
While YouTube does have a three-strike policy youtube before suspending an account, Richard noted that the site didn’t give them enough warnings. He explained that YouTube’s system flagged multiple videos at once, causing them to get multiple strikes instantly.
The cannabis advocate said that he started his YouTube channel in 2015 and already had 119,000 subscribers before the channel was deleted. While Richard’s channel has been reinstated, he and other cannabis advocates on YouTube have since pushed in developing their own site to host their video content.
Dealing with YouTube censorship
The case of Richards and other weed advocates on YouTube is just one of the many instances of the site dealing with gray areas. What makes the issue more complicated is that there are often external pressures that can affect YouTube’s censorship decisions. Lobbying by different political groups is one such influence that’s taken into account by YouTube when censoring content.
To address concerns from creators, the site has made changes in its strike system, as explained below.
YouTube said that this new system will make it easier for creators to understand why their channel is being flagged and give them enough time to comply with the guidelines.
While this is a welcomed move, you still need to be ready to deal with censorship issues that might be encountered by your YouTube content. Some of the things you need to do are:
- Study the YouTube Community Guidelines: Look into different cases of YouTube censorship to have a better understanding of how YouTube’s Community Guidelines work in different situations.
- Consider your audience: Study the cultural norms and habits of your audience groups to have a good idea of what they might consider inappropriate. Such differences in values can cause them to flag your videos even if your content might be fine with other viewers.
- Choose your content topics wisely: Weigh on the general acceptability of your video’s subject matter. Make the necessary changes to suit your audience better.
- Test your videos: Ask your test audience to look for specific sections that they might find offensive or don’t agree with. Revise based on their recommendations.
These steps will help you discover red flags early and lessen the chances of your content being suspended or deleted.
Despite YouTube’s claims of providing complete freedom to creators, it is unlikely that YouTube will halt its censorship policies anytime soon. By knowing how to conform and work with YouTube’s policies, you can ensure that your videos will stay active and be enjoyed at any time by your viewers.