YouTube is facing criticism for cracking down on videos documenting China’s abuses against Uyghur Muslims in the country’s Xinjiang province.
And theI learned Reuters reported that YouTube removed dozens of videos from the Atajurt Kazakhstan human rights channel, and at one point removed the channel itself.
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This came on the grounds that the channel violated the platform’s anti-harassment policy through videos discussing the disappearance of people in Xinjiang.
The channel said it had received several alerts due to videos in which people carried identification cards to show they were related to the missing residents of Xinjiang, violating a rule that forbids revealing sensitive personal information.
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The removals followed reports from unnamed parties.
YouTube recovered some of the videos after the petitions. But she did not explain why some of them have remained out of sight.
The company asked Kazakhstan’s human rights channel, Tagourt, to blur or remove some identifiers. But the channel is reluctant to do so as it may harm the credibility of the videos.
YouTube suspended the channel on June 15 over the alleged violations and reinstated it three days later after careful review of the appeal, a spokesperson for the platform said.
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Kazakhstan’s human rights channel, Tagourt, is backing up the videos through Odysee, a blockchain-based platform, in case YouTube pulls them. However, the channel does not intend to stop releasing videos on Google’s platform.
YouTube said it had been receptive to videos documenting human rights abuses, and was aware that Atagourt Kazakhstan’s human rights channel had no ill intent when showing ID cards.
However, it argued that the channel did not have enough educational, documentary, scientific, and artistic content to permit an exception to its policies.
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The removals raise questions about the clarity of YouTube’s policies and the origins of requests. And while the channel appears to have broken some rules, it’s not certain how that applies to every video, or why the group hasn’t counted an exception.
It’s also worth noting that the removals followed reports, rather than YouTube’s own moderation practices.
The Kazakhstan human rights channel, Tagourt, said it was concerned that requests for removal may have come from pro-China factions trying to suppress stories of atrocities taking place in Xinjiang.