After yesterday’s Boles.tv live stream I received a curious email from YouTube informing me I had violated some sort of community guideline, and they were “Age-Restricting” my entire VOD upload. That meant no viewers under the age of 18, and my video would not be shown to anyone not logged into YouTube. I wasn’t sure if they were dinging my previous live stream, and video podcast episode, about William Hurt Raping Marlee Matlin or not, but I quickly learned discussing rape is okay for kids, but showing the aftermath of a blood stain on a train platform from the New York City subway shooting yesterday is verboten. I wondered aloud if YouTube ever really checks the strange, and awful, videos that appear on their service that include nudity, and violence, and are not restricted.
While I realize these takedown notices are automatically performed by AI (and not real people) reading the content descriptions — there’s no way humans are actually vetting the video content — I couldn’t help but wonder what YouTube thinks makes the daily evening news in America? Blood and shootings are everywhere, a daily event now in America, and I find it incredible to believe YouTube is actively Age-Restricting news sites on their service that just plainly report, as did I, on what happened in the MTA N-train yesterday.
Here’s the video in question. Beware of the content! Age-Restricted! Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!
I immediately decided I would appeal the Age-Restricted ban on my live stream VOD. I only reported what happened. I wasn’t over the top. I was careful. I was considerate. I’m not the one who fired the gun, it wasn’t me who spilt innocent blood. I was just reporting, and commenting, on what actually happened.
Here is the appeal I sent to YouTube. I was sort of satisfied I filled the 800 character limit with my complaint.
Hi there! I’m not sure what, or why, this video was age-restricted. We had a conversation today about the NYC subway shooting, and there was blood on the train platform, but what I shared was nothing compared to what has been aired on mainstream media, YouTube, and social media without being restricted content. I can’t imagine anything else in the stream today that would have triggered this response, and therefore, I am respectfully appealing your decision to restrict access to what was a newsworthy event that was seen, and experienced, by children under 18 in real time, and at home while watching the evening news, and then openly discussed in classrooms all over the nation. Sometimes, the gore is more in the restriction of conversation than in the actual sharing of a human shedding event.
Welp. Within 60 seconds of me submitting my appeal to my Age-Restricted ban, an obvious AI auto-reply was triggered. Appeal denied. Guilty as charged. Stand down, or stand trial… (you know what I mean…)
I find YouTube’s position on this matter indefensible. You cannot Age-Restrict the news. You cannot place one news organization over another. What happened, happened — and it cannot matter who shares the truth of that fact. Bad, and terrible, things wound the world every day, and when everyone around you is discussing what happened, the wise among us do not shield a child’s eye from the truth with a sty — or send them out of the room while the adults discuss, behind the child’s back, what it means to escape with your life in your hands from a train platform in Brooklyn — because to do that is to misunderstand the universal terms of storytelling, and morality, that define us. These are the penetrable, and indelible, quotable moments, of living a human life.
I am curious where, and how, YouTube draws the line on their accusations of content gore, especially when their employees are not applying logic, or context, to the arguments of the appeal in real time. I am both disappointed, but not surprised, that YouTube would make this move. It is Virtue Signaling at its best-worst while the rest of the world bleeds, in quiet, and grieves, in secret, behind arbitrary content restrictions that harm the light more than they condemn the darkness.