Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Yesterday, YouTube deleted LaBitConf’s channel alleging the usual. According to the platform’s automated censors, the prestigious conference’s channel contained “content that encourages illegal activities or encourages users to violate YouTube’s guidelines.” This has happened before to Bitcoin-related channels.
Related Reading | Youtube Crypto Censorship Just Got Extreme
In October, the robot censors blocked The Best Business Show’s Anthony Pompliano’s channel. At the time of the conflict, Pompliano was interviewing Bitcoin analyst Plan B. Yes, it was about Bitcoin, but the content was as mainstream as it gets. Weirder yet is that they contacted Pompliano threatening him with a strike, which also wasn’t warranted, and ended up going nuclear and censoring the whole channel.
That’s another weird aspect of this whole phenomenon. The platform has a three strikes in 90 days policy. You have to be severely out of line for your channel to be permanently blocked. However, when it comes to Bitcoin as a topic, YouTube goes directly to the ban as if they were China.
The platform does reserve the right to go nuclear when they find “a single case of severe abuse.” Was that condition present in these cases? You be the judge. Is it all a coincidence or is there more to this story? Let’s examine the facts and see where we stand.
Say Goodbye To LaBitConf’s Carefully Curated YouTube Channel
The Spanish-speaking cryptocurrency conference’s channel hosts two types of content. 1.- Past presentations by the space’s most respected minds. 2.- Promotional material for the conference’s different editions. What did the platform say about LaBitConf’s benevolent content? The same thing as always. Cryptonoticias reports:
“YouTube specifies that, after reviewing the content, they detected “serious or repeated violations” of their Community Rules. They clarify that any content that “content that encourages illegal activities or encourages users to violate YouTube’s guidelines,” is not allowed on the platform.”
Muchos de los principales educadores en cripto han confiado en nosotros y se han subido a nuestros escenarios, deleitándonos con su conocimiento porque compartimos la convicción de que las #cripto llegaron para quedarse, desafiándonos a pensar en un futuro más descentralizado.
— LABITCONF (@labitconf) January 20, 2022
That’s it. The standard e-mail everyone gets with a side of not responding to LaBitConf’s requests or questions. The conference took to Twitter to express their disgust:
“Many of the leading crypto educators have trusted us and taken to our stages, delighting us with their knowledge because we share the conviction that crypto is here to stay, challenging us to think of a more decentralized future.“
And one of LaBitConf’s producers, Daiana Gómez Banegas, told Cryptonoticias:
“This is a general problem of network governance, in which the user is defenseless against arbitrary and often automatic decisions of the platforms.”
Yeah, that sounds about right. It’s worth noticing that LaBitConf’s channel is back online at the time of writing.
BTC price chart for 01/21/2022 on Bitstamp | Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com
That Time YouTube Targeted Bitcoin Magazine
If LaBitConf’s was an isolated case, we wouldn’t suspect a thing. But there seems to be a pattern here. On January 11th, YouTube disabled the prestigious Magazine’s channel middle stream. The topics were the Bitcoin stories of the day, nothing controversial or dangerous. What did the platform say about it? The same old story, of course. Bitcoin Magazine reports:
“The platform justified the move saying that “content that encourages illegal activities or encourages users to violate YouTube’s guidelines is not allowed on YouTube,” adding that exceptions might be made if a video portrays the information as educational content instead of inciting others to imitate them.
Google’s video platform re-instituted Bitcoin Magazine’s YouTube channel in under an hour after the Bitcoin media company filed an appeal.”
Curious fact: at the time of Bitcoin Magazine’s ban, a simple search revealed known scams broadcasting without a hiccup.
“After the ban, search results for live Bitcoin content yielded livestreams promoting doubtful results with a sense of urgency typical of scamming activities, instead of the well-founded, carefully constructed informational and educational content being streamed by Bitcoin Magazine’s now banned YouTube channel.”
YouTube response: Educating people to buy and hold #Bitcoin is “encouraging illegal activities.”
Meanwhile, a thousand scam channels thrive.
— Bitcoin Magazine (@BitcoinMagazine) January 11, 2022
Is there something fishy going on here?
An Old Report Claiming Shadowbanning And Censorship
In May 2020, just before the halving, Forbes reported a widespread problem that extended to Google, the platform’s parent company:
“Christopher Jaszczynski, who is a technical on-chain analyst, speaker, and YouTuber says, “This is public knowledge. Since Google owns YouTube this is also escalating from media outlets that rely on Google traffic to bitcoin and crypto YouTubers. All big bitcoin YouTuber’s including our MMCrypto channel are now being shadowbanned.”
Related Reading | YouTube Crypto Scams On The Rise As Victims Lose Millions
In that same report they quoted Carl Martin Runefelt, The Moon channel’s founder:
“This latest development regarding YouTube censorship against bitcoin-videos is very alarming. Youtube is now clearly deliberately limiting the reach of my videos when I put the word bitcoin in the title.”
So, does Runefelt have a case now? Can he team up with the affected YouTube channels and get to the bottom of this? Or, on the other hand, are we reading too much into it? Are we imagining enemies that aren’t there? You be the judge. You received all the relevant facts available.
Featured Image: Screenshot from this Milena Mayorga tweet| Charts by TradingView.com