Why YouTube Deletes Your Videos (Plus Solutions & Alternatives)

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This is an increasing problem for some content creators in YouTube. They keep finding that their videos are deleted, and want to know why, and what they can do about it.

There are actually a number of reasons why YouTube can delete videos from users, some of them based on clearly definable standards, and others more subjective.

Here are the main things to do if YouTube keeps deleting your videos:

  • Check your aren’t violating copyright laws
  • Make sure your content doesn’t violate reasonable standards/guidelines
  • Upload to Bitchute, Rumble or lbry.tv instead.

Unfortunately, it is simply a matter of fact these days that YouTube deletes videos (and even entire channels) for both legitimate and illegitimate reasons, and their Terms of Service and “Community Guidelines” and not consistently enforced in a way that is equal and fair for all content creators, regardless of ideology.

However, in this article we will attempt to deal with this issue fairly, and first cover the legitimate reasons that videos can be deleted for, such as copyright and content suitability, and how to avoid this happening.

We will then move onto the more ideological and subjective reasons that YouTube sometimes deletes videos for, and look at some ways around this, including alternative video sharing platforms that publishers can turn to if they are growing tired of the way YouTube enforces it’s policies and “guidelines”.

Why Do Videos Get Deleted From YouTube?

Here are some reasons videos get pulled down from YouTube:

  • They actually do contain content which is offensive, incites or glorifies real hatred/violence, contains adult content, threatens harm or otherwise breaks reasonable codes of conduct.
  • You actually do break Copyright laws and upload someone else’s content, without gaining permission.
  • If you also use a portion of someone else’s content as part of one of your videos, but do it incorrectly, then videos can also be taken down for copyright. The rules are quite strict on this.

These are the legitimate reasons videos get taken down, and in these cases, it’s up to the publisher to modify their content to make sure it complies.

Now let’s more to the more subjective and ideological reasons that videos can be taken down:

  • You publish a video which contradicts official narratives and “consensus opinion” on certain important and/or controversial/politically sensitive topics. Unfortunately, even having facts to back up claims you make, and citing credible, authoritative sources, often does not prevent this.
  • You publish a video on a politically controversial topic, where controversial views are expressed, even if expressed articulately and back up with facts and research.
  • Anything that is strongly opposed to the currently prevailing left leaning political ideology of the big tech companies is unfortunately at risk of being taken down.
  • In summary, if your video touches on any topics currently considered “politically incorrect” – like inter-gender dynamics, politics, gender issues, sexuality, challenging official consensus/narratives – in a way that YouTube doesn’t like, then it can be taken down.

Lest some readers think some of these points are an over-exaggeration, YouTube actually has algorithms that scan through uploaded videos to check for “key words”.

No one has an exact list of what these words are, but if too many of them are in a video, it will often get “held” for moderation/approval by a real person.

Content uploaders have realized this – when they use certain words too often, videos are not uploaded straight away and are held for moderation – and are pre-emptively avoiding the use of certain words to try and get around this algorithmic form of restriction.

They are also finding videos on controversial topics are often de-monetized, reducing the incentive to produce this kind of content.

Check You Are Not Violating Copyright Rules

This is the first thing to check if you are using someone else’s content on your own channel. The rules on this are clearly stated and if you violate copyright and fair usage rules, then YouTube do have valid reason to delete your videos.

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Here are some guides on using the entirety of other people’s content:

  • This is generally not allowed unless you have the explicit permission of the copyright owner.
  • You must contact the owner of the material to get permission to reupload or use their video.
  • In some cases, the owner may openly say that their content is “copyright free” and can be freely duplicated and reuploaded by anyone else, in which case you are fine to use the content as you wish.

Here are some general (but not exhaustive) guidelines to follow when using portions of other people’s content:

  • The general standard for using copyrighted work is known as Fair Use. If you can prove you have followed Fair Use principles in using other people’s work, you are in theory protected against copyright claims.
  • The main contexts in which you can use other people’s work is for commentary, criticism or parody.
  • This means you can use small portions of other people’s content for these purposes.
  • Unfortunately, there is no rock solid definition of how much a “small portion” is. As a guideline up to 20-30 seconds is considered acceptable, but there is no set rule on this.
  • This can include small portions of text and videos from other creators.
  • If you do use other people’s footage, be sure to credit them in the description of your YouTube video and link back to the original video and their channels/websites if you want.
  • See this article for more on this, plus Google’s own Q&A on Fair Use.

A lot creators try to follow what they think is Fair Use using portions of other people’s content, yet still find their videos flagged for Copyright. Some have grown so exasperated with this that they have resorted to modifying the portion of content they use so it is different enough from the original that it can’t be flagged for Copyright.

Here are some ways they do this:

If you do violate copyright laws, then YouTube will send you a message on your email telling you this. Sometimes, the video is deleted straight away.

However, if another content creator has put in a copyright complaint against you, then YouTube gives them the option to give you a 7 day grace period to either take the video down or get the appropriate permission from the original creator. If you fail to do this, YouTube automatically deletes the video after 7 days.

Either way, you will get a “copyright strike”, which is noted on your account. As of now, it expires several months later, but if you get a total of 3 unexpired copyright strikes, then YouTube will close your account entirely, so despite the other things YouTube are doing, it is important to get copyright issues right.

Be sure to fully check their copyright terms of service and latest videos on the topic to be up to speed on their policies.

Check You Are Not Violating Reasonable Standards

This is another legitimate reason that videos can be taken down – if it contains content that is generally offensive and problematic from a strict legal standpoint, or generally unsuitable for a mainstream video sharing platform that is accessible to people of all ages.

Here are some reasons videos can be taken down by this criteria:

  • It is openly inciting or glorifying violence.
  • It contains direct threats, harassment, bullying or abuse against another person or institution.
  • It contains pornographic material, nudity or other sexual content.
  • It in general contains adult themed content, like extreme or graphic violence and sex (they may delete or age restrict the content).
  • It encourages or features self harm
  • It contains, encourages or promotes deceptive practices and spam/scams.
  • It encourages or features the sale of illegal goods

See their Community Guidelines page for more information on this.

The above criteria are pretty clear cut and understandable, but there are also also categories within this policy that are highly subjective in the way they can be interpreted and enforced, and there is of course a growing trend of videos being unreasonably taken down – we’ll cover this further below

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If you are confident you have followed all reasonable standards and copyright laws and that your content is being deleted for ideological reasons and not really for genuine “guidelines” reasons, then it’s time to look at alternative ways to get your content out there.

Some Alternative Platforms To Upload Videos To

Let’s look at some alternative video hosting platforms that do not apply the same censorship as of now at least:

Alternative #1 – Bitchute – Bitchute is our number one recommended alternative platform to YouTube, as it has a fast growing audience and zero censorship, and is free to join. On the downside, it has almost no monetization options, slow and unreliable uploads, sometimes slow streaming, and a much smaller audience than YouTube, but is definitely worth checking out as a free speech platform.

Bottom line – Definitely recommended to set up a Bitchute channel, it’s totally free and zero censorship. A great backup plan. If you are getting fed up with YouTube, encourage your audience to move over to BitChute. Video are fully embeddable as well, like YouTube ones.

Click here to get started with Bitchute.

Alternative #2 – Rumble – Another excellent backup option, with fast and reliable uploads and streaming, free and premium account options, and a totally free speech platform where videos are not taken down for subjective reasons. Monetization is more advanced than Bitchute, but still far less than YouTube, but a great backup option to upload your videos to make sure they stay up. Videos are also fully embeddable.

Click here to get started with Rumble.

Alternative #3 – lbry.tv – A lesser known video sharing platform, but very free speech friendly and easy to set up with their app. Again monetization options are far less than you’ll get on YouTube, but it’s a free and open platform if you need to share and embed videos without them being taken down.

Click here to get started with lbry.tv

Alternative #4 – Dailymotion – A more mainstream, French based video sharing platform, which hasn’t quite taken off in the same way as YouTube, but can be a viable place to upload videos if you want. No evidence of censorship that I could find, but is lesser known and doesn’t have very advanced monetization options.

Click here to get started with Dailymotion.

See our full article on Alternative video hosting sites to YouTube, that covers the pro’s and cons of all these options in more detail. All options are free to join (or have free account options), and allow you to host videos and embed them into websites.

Best Practices For Content Creators Who Keep Having Their YouTube Videos Deleted

Let’s run through a quick summary checklist for navigating the online world for publisher currently having their videos unreasonably taken down by platforms like YouTube

  • Never delete your original video files; always keep them safe for re-uploading to other platforms as censorship is continuing to grow.
  • Sign up to one or more of the suggested alternative platforms. Unfortunately Vimeo is now not a viable alternative, as it too has started censoring videos on ideological grounds.
  • If you still plan on uploading to YouTube, then also upload “backup videos” to these other platforms.
  • If you are embedding ideologically at-risk videos into blog posts, embed the Bitchute or Rumble version rather than the YouTube version, because if the latter gets pulled down, the video is no longer accessible and creates a bad user experience.
  • If you see other videos on controversial topics on YouTube that you like and/or need for your own research, use a tool to pull a copy of it off the platform in case it does get deleted at some point.

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