Why decentralized media will still be censored

After YouTube struck down crypto accounts this month, it rekindled interest in decentralized media platforms and freedom from censorship. Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance was discussing how to monetize decentralized videos on Twitter and Chico Crypto moved their entire video library to a decentralized file system. The general rhetoric of the crypto space was that YouTube messed with the wrong group of people.

Read moreWhy decentralized media will still be censored

Why might YouTube have flagged / banned crypto content?

In the span of a day, YouTube flagged content from crypto channels like Chico Crypto, Chris Dunn and Boxmining and some were even temporarily banned. The YouTube strike system is automated by their own algorithms and allots three strikes before a channel is taken down, so even getting one can feel very threatening to channels. Not everyone has released exact details of their strikes, but Chico Crypto had a video pulled for “harmful and dangerous content.”

Mainstream YouTubers like iDubbbz have had their content pulled recently because of growing censorship policies. There was a long phase on YouTube where creators thrived from creating drama which often resulted in trash talking others or random people on the internet. YouTube was originally fine with the genre and even pushed that content to recommended feeds, but when iDubbbz was struck this month, it was obvious that things were changing.

It’s hard to say what exactly what type of crypto content YouTube is striking. For instance, BlockTV is a fairly classic style broadcast news outlet for topics about blockchain tech and they have not reported being flagged.

Chris Dunn was flagged for the “sale of regulated goods,” which according to Google includes “Counterfeit documents or currency,” and “Linking to an online gambling casino in the video description.” In the US, derivative exchanges like Binance, BitMEX, Deribit, ByBit, FTX and many others do not comply with regulations. Theoretically, having an old referral link to one of these exchanges could be considered linking to an online gambling casino. Some of those exchanges were originally available in the US and having not changed a description since they became unavailable might violate policies.

Same goes for “Counterfeit documents or currency,” as many ICO projects were not sold in legal accordance to US regulations. Maybe if these YouTube channels had even spoken positively about those projects it could have been flagged.

The bottom line is, YouTube’s censorship algorithms have always been imperfect, and they usually deal with issues after the matter. If Chico Crypto’s videos come back up in the future, then they probably can improve the algorithm with the successfully disputed information. Unfortunately, this process takes a while and even when huge channels like H3H3 were struck down, it took some time for their problems to become solved.