Google has backtracked after “mistakenly” deleting the accounts of several prominent YouTubers over incorrect child abuse fears.
Popular YouTubers Mystic7, Trainer Tips and Marksman, who have more than 3.5 million subscribers between them, were among those who had their accounts deleted after posting videos of themselves playing Pokemon GO.
They were told their videos contravened YouTube’s community guidelines because “YouTube prohibits uploading… any type of activity that sexualises minors”.
YouTuber Billiam Thies told the BBC that not only was his YouTube channel removed, but his entire Google account was deleted as well – a move that Google, who owns YouTube, now admits was a mistake.
“People on Twitter were letting me know my YouTube account was down,” he said. “But because my Google account was terminated as well I didn’t have access to my email so I couldn’t see what happened.”
It is not clear how many people had their accounts removed in error, but it appears that all of the accounts have been reinstated after people took to social media to complain.
According to YouTube, if a person believes that their video has been mistakenly removed, a different reviewer will reassess it – and in this case, the videos were re-reviewed and the accounts were reinstated.
This has led to consternation, with popular Pokemon GO YouTuber Mystic criticising the company amidst what some labelled a “total lack of communication”.
So my channel just went down for community guideline strikes for “sexual content”… @TeamYouTube yal into Pokémon or something??
— MYSTIC7 (@MYSTIC7) February 17, 2019
‘Sexual content involving minors’
The question which has been repeatedly asked on social media is how YouTube managed to confuse footage from a video game with something illegal.
The problem seems to centre around the acronym “CP”, which in the world of Pokemon GO refers to “combat points”, or the measure of a Pokemon’s strength in battle.
Yet outside of Pokemon the acronym can be taken to stand for “child pornography”, a term used to describe child abuse images.
Google chose not to comment on whether this was the source of the issue, however it would explain why communities outside of Pokemon were also affected.