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Ironically free: Youtube deletes Arte-Video via digital censors

It is not without a certain irony: Youtube deleted a trailer for the cultural broadcaster Arte. And not just any trailer, but the one for the documentary “The Cleaners”, which is about the harsh working conditions of Filipino content moderators on behalf of YouTube and Facebook. The reason for this is allegedly shocking images in the clip specially made for distribution on social media, according to an email from [email protected] to Arte, which the broadcaster reports on its website.

So did the same overburdened low-wage workers that the documentation is about hit the button too quickly? Or was it an automated system that sorted out the trailer? We just don't know, wrote an Arte spokesman to when asked.

On YouTube, videos are regularly blocked for minors without a reason, and videos are also blocked on Facebook every two to three weeks, especially if we want to sponsor them. There are possibilities for objection, but since there was never a reaction from Facebook or Youtube / Google, this option only exists on paper and the videos remain blocked or the postings deleted.

So far, the sender has not received any further feedback from YouTube about the deletion. A typical case: Youtube repeatedly deletes users' videos because of allegedly problematic content or alleged copyright infringements, without the person concerned being able to really defend himself or even receiving an answer to their objections. In the case of Arte and “The Cleaners”, we also asked YouTube, but initially received no answer.

Update, September 3rd: A Youtube spokesman emphasized on request that Youtube did not block the video. Arte himself would have set the trailer to "not listed". The content remains available, but only for those who know the direct link. However, Youtube refused to accept the trailer as a (paid) promotional video due to the shocking images. Different rules would apply to such content than to normal videos. “There are videos that are permitted within the scope of our content guidelines and are therefore made available on YouTube. However, the same videos can definitely be rejected as promotional videos under our advertising guidelines, ”says the spokesman.

Arte has meanwhile also updated its report.

Our readers are welcome to judge for themselves how shocking the images in the Arte trailer are:

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About the author

Alexander Fanta

As the Brussels correspondent of, Alexander reports on the digital policy of the European Union. He writes about new laws and does investigative research on large technology companies and their lobbying. He is co-author of the study "Medienmäzen Google" on the group's journalism funding. In 2017 Alexander was a fellow at the Reuters Institute for Journalism Research at Oxford University, where he researched automation in journalism. Before that he was a foreign policy journalist for the Austrian news agency APA. E-mail:[email protected] (PGP). Twitter:@FantaAlexx. WhatsApp / Threema: +32483248596.
Published 08/30/2018 at 4:44 PM