Late last week, I wrote a story entitled, “VidAngel to Clean-Up Streaming Movies and YouTube for Families.” Although I said that VidAngel’s video entitled, “This Poor Family Gets Shot with 3,192 Paintballs in 5.3 Seconds to Prove a Powerful Point,” was “controversial,” I put controversial in quotations marks. In fact, I also said, “the paintball video is one of few videos that you can share on Facebook with your friends, parents, siblings, and colleagues. Heck, you can even share this “controversial” video with nuns, the elderly, and your uncle Steve. Hey, when was the last time you could do that?”
So, I was shocked, shocked to get an email this afternoon from Jeffrey Harmon, one of the co-founders of VidAngel with a subject line that said: “UPDATE: YouTube is blocking VidAngel's viral video from reaching families.” Now, before I get on my soapbox, take a look at the video for yourself - if you can, depending on your settings....
Are Trolls to Blame for the Restriction?
Jeffrey wrote, “Hi Greg, I thought you would find this interesting. Every video but one on our channel (focused on families) is now hidden from anyone with "Safety mode" on (which happens to be EVERYONE we are targeting). Details in this blog post: VidAngel’s Family Friendly Message Is Blocked From Reaching Families On YouTube.”
The post by Neal Harmon on VidAngel’s blog adds:
We suspect this is being caused by trolls or haters flagging our videos as inappropriate content despite its family centric message and G/PG rated content. It seems Youtube provides no quick solution to getting these problems fixed, and thus jeopardizes our entire marketing campaign because our message is being censored from the very people it’s meant for.
We are savvy enough to realize it happened, but as far as I can tell YouTube doesn’t send the video owner any warning that it happened. It took me 48 hours for me realize it happened and for the past two days I have been emailing everyone I know at YouTube and Google to see if someone will fix it. They are still trying to ‘sort it out’. In the meanwhile our video got stopped in its tracks.
No Quick Solution From YouTube
Jeffrey said, “I have to wonder how many ads have this happen? I am wondering if the same thing could happen to any ad that has a group of people who hate it enough? If trolls can do this to VidAngel, could a competitor illegitimately handicap a video with ‘Safety mode’ before the video even has a chance to get a foothold?” And he concluded, “Before we got flagged for ‘Safety mode’ our video had the best virality score of any video I have ever been a part of (including PooPourri’s Girl's Don't Poop). Most difficult is that YouTube has no real way for brands to remedy it when it happens.”
Hey, I know that the YouTube Community Guidelines ask us to “Respect the YouTube Community.” But it adds, “We're not asking for the kind of respect reserved for nuns, the elderly, and brain surgeons. We mean don’t abuse the site.” That’s where I got two of the three groups that I mentioned in my post last week. The third, “your uncle Steve,” was a line from “Bad Breath Test - How to Tell When Your Breath Stinks,” Jeffrey’s first big hit for Orabrush.
So, I would urge the YouTube Community to cut VidAngel some slack. But, let us know what you think. You can post your comments in the area below. Or, it’s probably more important for you to post your comments underneath the VidAngel’s videos.