YouTube Cryptocurrency Censorship: Breakdown & Explanation

Recently, the video platform YouTube began removing cryptocurrency related videos, even videos multiple years old. Many entrepreneurs use YouTube as a platform to vlog, upload podcasts, and to post videos related to content that interests them. Many cryptocurrency entrepreneurs use YouTube for the same purpose, to upload videos that both inform and explain cryptocurrency to the public. YouTube is a very popular platform for general research, and frequently the platform is used to search videos that interest various groups. It is important to understand that YouTube is a private company (a Google subsidiary) and is centralized, meaning that the staff of YouTube/Google has the discretion to regulate what is posted on their platform. YouTube utilizes a “terms of service” that outlines the guidelines for what is allowed to be posted on the platform. 

 

Many popular cryptocurrency Youtubers including Chris Dunn TV, Chico Crypto, Bitcoin and Coffee, Altcoin Daily, Ivan on Tech, Boxmining, DataDash, and Crypto Daily among roughly 20-30 other channels have been affected by the recent terms of service “crack-down.” Twitter user Omar Bham (Crypt0) @crypt0snews has a running list of the affected users here. Many of these channels have been using the YouTube platform for many years, with YouTuber Chris Dunn stating how he has been making videos for 10 years and never experienced any issues until recently.

There is some speculation over why YouTube has started to regulate and censor cryptocurrency related videos. Taking a look at the situation as a whole, there are a couple of potential explanations for why this recent censorship may be happening. One of the potential explanations is that YouTube is finally getting around to cracking down on cryptocurrency videos because they are aware of the scams taking place, as YouTube does, unfortunately, have a lot of bad information in terms of cryptocurrency videos. There are malicious players in the cryptocurrency YouTube space promoting scams, and attempting to profit off of scamming investors and traders. YouTube potentially may have decided to start to try to remove some of the malicious cryptocurrency content, accidentally also taking down some legitimate crypto YouTubers in the process. A tweet from Larry Cermak @lawmaster below breaks down this potential censorship highlighting a large number of malicious players on YouTube. 

YouTube may also be removing content due to potential security violations. A tweet from Jake Chervinsky @jchervinksy below details how YouTube may be cracking down on individuals who did not disclose compensation. 

While YouTube might be responsible for removing some of the cryptocurrency content, an interesting piece to this story is YouTuber Eric Crown @KrownCryptoCave tweeting about how he has received multiple telegram messages threatening that his channel and content will be removed. This tweet and telegram message can be seen below, and he reportedly has also received a follow up to this message stating that they are still working to remove content. A potential explanation offered from this information is that there is potentially a bad group of people out there essentially actively seeking out popular cryptocurrency content and reporting it to YouTube, causing content strikes for many YouTubers on their channels. 

Something I found interesting when investigating this alleged censorship from YouTube was the actual reasons that individuals videos were removed. YouTuber Omar Bham (Crypt0) @crypto0snews shared a screenshot (below) that detailed the specific reason that his content violated. While Omar Bham has since discussed how he is editing his videos to fix this violation, Bham’s content violated the policy according to YouTube by “directly selling or providing links to sites that sell” regulated goods or services. Speaking generally, most cryptocurrency content has multiple links in the description, normally with one of these links being an exchange where users can buy cryptocurrency. Having a link to any exchange would be a clear violation of this policy, and could be another potential reason for the mass-removal of crypto YouTube videos. The specific user, in this case, I mentioned Omar Bham @crypto0snews stated that he is actively working to fix all of his YouTube video descriptions so they no longer violate the policy, and I appreciate Bham being so transparent throughout this whole process with behind the scenes information. 

Overall, the recent censorship from YouTube is very interesting and negative for those who may have been caught in the crossfire. Cracking down on scams and malicious players in the cryptocurrency YouTube space is a positive event, but doing a full wipe of the entirety of the cryptocurrency content from YouTube is overall negative. Removing legitimate information from YouTube that may have been maliciously targeted is unfair for content creators who have been trying to play by the rules. YouTubers like DataDash and Ivan On Tech have since made their entire YouTube library private to avoid any further content strikes from YouTube. While making videos private prevents them from being reported, it also prevents the videos from being viewed by anyone, efficiently wiping the content from YouTube. 

 

To conclude, there are still a lot of looming questions surrounding this YouTube situation. On one side, YouTube may be attempting to remove some of the malicious content from their platform, and unfortunately also removed many legitimate users in the process. YouTube may also be looking into users who did not disclose payment for their services, as that is a violation of their terms. On another side, there is the potential that there exists a bad group of attackers mass-reporting cryptocurrency YouTube videos to get their content flagged for various reasons, where this group’s sole intention is to remove cryptocurrency videos from YouTube. While there is no clear answer for what is happening right now, many users are looking to decentralized video platforms like BitChute, and LBRY to upload their content. With YouTube/Google being centralized powers, the users have no freedom to upload videos at their own discretion, and will essentially have to wait on the platform to explain what they are doing. The most recent word from TeamYouTube is below as they said they are looking into this.” In summary, a lot of cryptocurrency Youtubers content has been pulled from YouTube for content violations with minimal explanation and no further word from YouTube yet. Links to all the tweets screenshotted throughout this article are linked in the sources below. 

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