On December 23, 2019, Google’s YouTube.com began removing bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies related content from the video-sharing platform in what’s being called a “crypto-purge,” leaving content creators in the bitcoin and cryptocurrency vertical unjustly attacked by the web-search conglomerate.
According to Forbes, at least 35 crypto-focused YouTube channels were affected by the purge, including ChrisDunnTV, Nugget News, Crypto Tips, and BTC Sessions. More prominent publishers such as CoinTelegraph and CNBC, appear to have been spared.
YouTube’s censorship on the night before Christmas Eve was met with outrage amongst the cryptocurrency community, members of which promptly began to speculate regarding the company’s motives as well as the potential lasting impact of its actions.
According to YouTuber Chris Dunn, the notification sent by the platform cited “harmful or dangerous YouTube content” and “sale of regulated goods” as grounds for disabling his videos.
A Tweet by Omar Bham (@crypt0snews) published December 24, 2019 lists several other channels affected by the action. Bham speculated YouTube is deleting crypto channels with links to external websites or exchanges listed in video descriptions. It’s also possible that, because cryptocurrencies are viewed as a regulated asset, the lack of disclaimers in some of the videos was grounds for deletion or receiving a strike to the publisher’s channel.
“YouTube deleting all Crypto content is a massive blow to the industry,” said Ran NeuNer, who hosts the CryptoTrader show on CNBC Africa.
Reversal of Deletion of YouTube Content – It was an “Error”
Three days after the haphazard take downs and strikes, YouTube issues a statement saying the decision to ban bitcoin and cryptocurrency content was an “error” and the removed videos would be reinstated.
YouTube said that there has been no change in its policies vis a vis crypto and that all affected videos were “reinstated” without “any penalty to the channel.”
Despite this, as of this writing many of the deleted videos have not been reinstated and affected users may appeal the decision.
With this move, YouTube again demonstrated its omnipotence by unilaterally removing content, failing to provide a legal explanation, and then reversing its decision just a few days later, and all around the holidays. It begs the question, is it time for a new platform?
YouTube Content creators on YouTube and other platform seeking legal consultation on compliance with the platform’s terms and conditions, or other legal clearance issues, should content an experienced entertainment and new media attorney to discuss production, editing, and legal strategy.