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The YouTube algorithm punishes cryptocurrency-related content, and no one knows why

May 1, 2020

On March 16, YouTube released a statement warning the developer community that video deletion could increase during the coronavirus pandemic. According to the popular video sharing platform, the system is currently based on a combination of human personnel and technology. It finds that machine learning is used to identify potentially harmful content. As soon as these algorithms have found “harmful content”, human examiners are used for evaluation.

The company also said that during the COVID 19 crisis, new steps are being taken to rely more heavily on technology to help with some of the work that human inspectors typically do. The blog post says:

“Automated systems will start removing some content without human scrutiny, so we can continue to act quickly to remove the offending content and protect our ecosystem while we have protection in the workplace.”

However, the increased use of machine learning algorithms on YouTube can be the reason for the recent removal of videos related to crypto.

The YouTube algorithm punishes cryptocurrency-related content, and no one knows whyThe YouTube algorithm punishes cryptocurrency-related content, and no one knows why

Popular crypto-YouTuber Lark Davis, also known as The Crypto Lark, told Cointelegraph that 11 videos were removed from his YouTube channel in April. Her last video, which contains an interview with Andreas Antonopoulos, was suddenly removed from YouTube on Sunday. He said:

“It took YouTube 3-4 hours to replay the interview with Andreas Antonopoulos. Videos are often removed because they violate community standards, but content creators are never told why their videos are removed. I don’t violate them YouTube guidelines, I’m only talking about cryptocurrency news, but my videos clearly contain something that triggers machine learning algorithms to remove content. “

Davis further mentioned that although it only took a few hours to restore her interview with Antonopoulos, some of her crypto videos took a whole day to return. In fact, this could be due to the new COVID-19 related algorithms that YouTube is currently relying on.

Verge reporter Casey Newton recently interviewed YouTube product chief Neal Mohan. Mohan revealed that because of the coronavirus pandemic, YouTube relied on machine learning algorithms and machines to assess appropriate content. Without human intervention, however, there were far more appeals from content creators who complained that the content was removed. Mohan added:

“Because these machines take so many steps, these complaints are sometimes affected in terms of our response time, but in general we were able to deal with it.”

The Blockchain Academy’s YouTube channel with 8.6,000 subscribers has also recently been affected by YouTube’s “cryptocurrency ban”. Ricardo Florentino Cruz, Community Manager and Administrator of the Blockchain Academy, told Cointelegraph that the channel is promoting blockchain education in Spanish to provide informative tutoring.

He said the Blockchain Academy channel had a video that was suddenly removed in early April. “After our first video ban, YouTube sent warnings about our other videos, especially those related to the COVID19 news,” said Florentino.

Anne Ahola Ward, technologist, IBM futurist and author of O’Reilly, told Cointelegraph that Google is known for keeping its algorithms secret. Video He said: “If Google’s algorithm has somehow convinced that blockchain technology is related to conspiracy theories, it is much more likely to be tagged.” Interestingly, Davis found that cryptocurrency content on YouTube had been banned since December, adding:

“Many cryptocurrency YouTubers have had platform issues since Christmas. At that time, there was a recent update to YouTube’s machine learning algorithm and another update to COVID19 in March. The algorithm follows certain words, but content creators know it Not words that trigger “harmful content.”

YouTube is silent, what now?

Cointelegraph reached YouTube via email and Twitter on Tuesday to comment, but the company has not yet responded. Due to the lack of communication, content creators only hypothesize why YouTube removed crypto-related videos.

Davis explained that many crypto-youtubers have started to circle the narrative that YouTube censors cryptocurrency channels. However, he does not believe that this is the case:

“I know YouTube is trying to respond to fraud. Unfortunately, when you’re looking for things like BTC, ETH, or XRP, a number of giveaways for live scams appear and YouTube tries to counter them. The YouTube algorithm is the master the platform and determines the fate of the content creator. “

While the reason for deleting cryptocurrency content remains a mystery, Ripple Labs and his chief executive officer Brad Garlinghouse filed a lawsuit against YouTube on April 21. According to Ripple, the lawsuit was filed to stop XRP scammers and scammers from entering the platform.

Lea Thompson, also known as Girl Gone Crypto on YouTube, told Cointelegraph that, although there has been much speculation as to why YouTube is tackling crypto-related content, she has heard that this may be related to referral links:

“I heard that YouTube posted the same reference links in the description of each video to mark the videos as spam, but frankly, we have heard very little about why crypto content is removed. But when the big players Da Tone Vays and The Crypto Lark can be censored, no one is safe. “

Crypto-YouTubers are not only exposed to the risk that their content is suddenly deleted, but YouTube can also disrupt the live content of its platform. Erick Pinos, president of the Blockchain Education Network (BEN) – a six-year-old network made up of blockchain clubs, students, professors, and alumni from universities around the world – told Cointelegraph that YouTube recently cut off one of these live -Tutorials of the station in the middle of the stream:

“In the past two months we have launched a number of BEN representatives in which we broadcast live interviews with popular blockchain technology projects. On April 3, our live stream was interrupted in the middle of the stream and they sent us a notification YouTube while we were on the zoom call with the respondent. “

According to Pinos, the announcement did not state that the BEN account was suspended, but since then the organization has stopped using YouTube for live broadcasting. “We stopped broadcasting live because we didn’t want to be negatively marked again,” he said.

Decentralized alternatives

Both Davis and Florentino said they have channels on LBRY, a blockchain-based, community-managed content sharing platform. Davis said he has shared videos on LBRY for some time. However, he found that most decentralized media platforms did not meet YouTube standards:

“DTube has good views, but the problem with these platforms is that most of them lack bandwidth compared to YouTube. For example, I had problems uploading videos to these platforms.”

In addition, Pinos mentioned that BEN used the Mailchimp to send regular newsletters, but stated that the organization’s account was blocked twice by the platform: once in 2017, during the insanity of the ICOs, and again in early April:

“We created a new Mailchimp account in January. We were fine with some newsletters, but on April 8th, Mailchimp stopped sending our weekly newsletter and sent us a notification that our account had been suspended. that we fall under “Prohibited Content” your guidelines for acceptable use. “

Then Pinos said that BEN had used SendGrid, an email marketing software that was never a problem. He also noted that BEN published content on decentralized platforms like Hive and 3Speak, but continues to use YouTube.

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