Monday, August 29, 2011

Bieberpocalypse shows epic failure of user-based moderation

I've written plenty about the idiocy of Facebook's policy of acting instantly on any complaint about inappropriate content, whether justified or not, and leaving the victimized user to prove they were wronged. It has been used by prudes to complain about non-sexual nudity, by political movements to ban social ad campaigns they disagree with, and who knows what else?

Well, YouTube has a similar policy of "yank first, ask questions later." And this policy was used today by a troublemaker called iLCreation who made an unsubstantiated copyright claim on every single Justin Beiber video on his official Vevo channel — leading to their wholesale removal — according to TMZ.

That's right. Even that awful video with over 600 million views got removed because an anonymous user made a claim against it. And boy, were his fans mad.

Relax, Beliebers. He's back online now.

But considering the unbelievable power that Facebook and YouTube have put into the hands of every single internet loser with a chip on his or her shoulder to stifle argument and destroy multi-million dollar marketing campaigns, maybe it's time to put smarter moderation in place?

I'm just saying.


  1. You've never jumped through the hoops for removing stuff, have you? It goes like this: he first had to get an account, under the name of iLCreation and validate it with faxed copies of passport/some form of identification and then wait for approx a month. Not every user is approved, there's some sort of form to fill in for content creators/owners - the business name, the state it's registered in, a copy of the business registration papers as well if I remember correctly.

    And then when he flags it for "infringes my copyright" he has to check all of these little radio buttons:
    By checking the following boxes, I state UNDER PENALTY OF PERJURY that:
    ∗ I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
    ∗ I have a good faith belief that the use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law; and
    ∗ This notification is accurate.
    ∗ I acknowledge that under Section 512(f) any person who knowingly materially misrepresents that material or activity is infringing may be subject to liability for damages.
    Typing your full name in this box will act as your digital signature.

    ∗ I understand that abuse of this tool will result in termination of my YouTube account.


    Not something that "every user with a youtube account" can do, nor would want to. That "Section 512(f)" bit tens to freak most people out.

  2. Ah, thanks for the clarification. Since the "flag this video as inappropriate" menu, available to all anonymously registered users, includes "infringes my copyright" I had assumed it did the same thing as flagging for smut or spam.

  3. There's a fast track. For example, I flagged this video less than a minute ago.

  4. So you flagged it "a minute ago" and it immediately disappeared? That is not possible.

    With regard to all the information, mentioned above, that YouTUbe (Facebook, etc)requires in order to remove content, do you think they bother to verify that information? No. Or at least they do it randomly or in select cases. They must be getting thousands of such request (to remove content) daily. There is no way they examine them closely.