Inspired by traditional end-of-year letters from others, never having written one myself, I’m motivated to try now. But with a twist: save for last (if ever) what tends to come first in most letters—family and travels, possibly health but usually not—and begin with what’s for me juiciest. So, here’s what I’ve been up to, what I attempt to make. My letter will be heavy on graphics, befitting a visual person. With very few posed smiling faces, if any.
In March 2022 YouTube/Google canceled my account; I lost nearly 200 videos that I’d uploaded since 2003, many about Palestine-Israel, climate justice actions, Quaker-related events, and an activist brass band, School of Honk. I believe an algorithm struck me dead, and replied formulaically to all my appeals. Hello, is any human out there?
YouTube’s first message, on March 28, 2022:
Hi Skip Schiel,
We have reviewed your content and determined that it may not be suitable for viewers under the age of 18, per our Community Guidelines. As a result, we’ve age-restricted the following content:
We haven’t applied a strike to your channel, and your content is still live for some users on YouTube. Keep reading for more details on what this means and steps you can take if you’d like to appeal this decision.
What “age-restricted” means
We age-restrict content when we don’t think it’s suitable for younger audiences. This means it will not be visible to users who are logged out, are under 18 years of age, or have Restricted Mode enabled. Learn more about age restrictions.
What you can do next
We realize this may be frustrating news, and we want to help make sure your content is accessible to all audiences. Here’s what you can do:
Review YouTube’s Community Guidelines.
Double check that your content is in line with our guidelines.
Appeal here if you think we’ve made a mistake.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to reach out to us here.
The YouTube Team
Clicking on “SRS” brought me to this:
My appeal to YouTube within minutes of their first message and their account termination:
within seconds of posting my latest video, srs, it was first age-restricted which I was about to do myself. within an hour, youtube apparently canceled my entire channel, without, as far as I can read, clear explanation. what happened to your warning and strike policies? I filed an appeal about the file removal and this is my second one, specifically for the channel removal. as I tried to explain in my first appeal, altho nudity and apparent penetration appears, it is an enactment, a scene of experimental theater, not hard or soft porn. how anyone would deem it deliberately explicit or seductive escapes me. i plead for reinstatement of my channel and my latest video; removal seems wildly excessive. look at my other videos on youtube and my photos on my website (teeksaphoto.org). you will see I am not a pornographer. i am an artist, sometimes with a brazen approach.
i expect to hear from you asap as this is my trade as a photographer/videographer.
To Facebook and Linked in:
[my video, SRS, which led to the cancellation is now] available on vimeo—so far. before that, when i tried to post on my youtube channel, they demanded i make it restricted to 18 and younger, which i was about to do, and then immediately within seconds i received notification that they’d removed the video entirely. a few minutes after that they canceled my entire channel. of course, i’m appealing. when I showed it to a group of photographers some told me that, compared with what’s viewable now on the internet, especially what’s steaming from reputable (ie, non-pornographic sources) my little slideshow is gosh darn mild. well… catch it while you can. and perhaps join me in raising questions about youtube’s removal policies.
Here is what provoked YouTube or those pesky little algorithms—SRS.
Within one day of my first appeal, YouTube or its battery of algorithms responded:
Thank you for contacting us. We have carefully reviewed your account appeal.
Your account has been terminated due to repeated or severe violations of our Community Guidelines on Nudity and Sexual content. YouTube is not the place for nudity, pornography or other sexually provocative content. For more information, please visit our Help Center.
We have decided to keep your account suspended. You won’t be able to access or create any other YouTube accounts. For more information about account terminations, please visit our Help Center.
The YouTube Team
On March 29, 2022 I appealed again:
thanks for your quick response and sorry that it increases your volume but I believe my case is urgent. please respond to the following questions:
1. you write that you canceled my account “due to repeated or severe violations of our Community Guidelines on Nudity and Sexual content.” please provide examples of my earlier postings that fit this criterion.
2. generally you utilize a wise and humane procedure of strikes and warnings. why in my case were none of these used? no strike, no warning.
3. your community guidelines specify removal when “genitals, breasts, or buttocks (clothed or unclothed) (are portrayed) for the purpose of sexual gratification.” how do you define “sexual gratification” and who decides?
4. at least three groups using my videos are now not able, including climate justice organizations, quaker groups, and other political groups. your decision directly and adversely affects them all. are you aware of this?
5. examine my previous posts. what do you think?
Because I post videos about Palestine-Israel, including Gaza (a hot topic) some have suggested the actual reason for the cancellation was my politics. I don’t think so because YouTube has never questioned those videos. I’ve hoped to discuss YouTube cancelation with others similarly afflicted but have failed. I’ve searched for other video platforms such as those used by major media like The New York Times, but have failed. I’m aware that content on streaming movies is up close or actually into what’s regarded as pornography. Perhaps YT fears litigation from groups like family safety. I tried uploading SRS to Vimeo, checking daily for rejection. No problem. Nearly one year later it continues on Vimeo.
In contrast to YouTube’s Community Standards, here are Vimeo’s content guidelines:
Vimeo does not allow:
- Explicit depictions of nudity or sexual acts (in most cases)
- Videos that seem primarily focused on sexual stimulation
- Videos designed to advertise goods and services of an erotic nature
Vimeo does respect creative expression, and we do allow:
- Depictions of nudity and sexuality that serve a clear creative, artistic, aesthetic, or narrative purpose (my emphasis)
- Non-sexual nudity, including naturalistic and documentary depictions of human bodies
Always rate your content appropriately.
Although Vimeo allows artistic and non-sexual nudity, these videos must still be marked with a “Mature” content rating.
I’ve rated the video Mature.
Restoration of my YouTube channel
Thanks to some tips from a friend, using means I’d rather not disclose publically, I’m in the process of restoring my archive on Vimeo and YouTube. I believe I have all the original movie files but finding them could be a major chore. Bizarrely, in September 2022, Google (owner of YouTube) alerted me that I or someone had requested the return of my video files. I hadn’t, as far as I could recall. Nonetheless, over a period of days, Google returned my video files, close to 160 of them. I’m not sure these represent everything that YouTube removed when they canceled my account.
YOUTUBE (RESURRECTED, NOT BY YOUTUBE BUT BY ME)
Eventually, I hope to organize some form of movie festival, around the clock, non-stop, for all who can bear it. Or a compilation of my best videos.
As is true for most veteran photographers and moviemakers, our digital archive may be only a small portion of our efforts. (About 10 YouTube entries were originally made on film.). I switched gradually from analog (made on film using chemistry and a darkroom) to digital and computers and the internet around 2000, some twenty years ago. For at least 30 previous years I’d made films and photos which this current blog does not reflect. My website includes analog and digital.
Was Your YouTube Channel Suspended for No Reason? (A Guide to Community Guidelines-related Suspensions)-Longzijun, 2017
YouTube Instantly Deleted Our Entire Channel… What We Learned & How You Can Help-Startupbros, 2019
NEXT: MAINTAINING MY WEBSITE, HOW I DESIGNED AND USE IT
One thought on “Slices of 2022-Part Two: MY Youtube cancellation & RESTORATION”
Sorry this happened to you!