YouTube has found that combat robot videos violate their video content restrictions because they display animal cruelty.
In a vlog post uploaded to the platform by Maker’s Muse, he identified that hundreds of videos that display robot combat fights had been taken down because of this false identification.
In his video, he shows a post in a robot combat Facebook community from Sarah Pohorecky. She competed in the last season of BattleBots, an American competition with a similar format to the UK’s Robot Wars. She received a takedown notice from YouTube and according to Motherboard, her channel was also given a strike.
Fellow BattleBots competitor Jamison Go cried out to the community in order to save the sport and the YouTube videos.
Captioning the takedown notice he received, Jamison wrote:
Today is a sad day. Robot builders across the world cried out in agony as YouTube’s algorithm falsely identified personal videos of robot sport as “animal cruelty” and “cock fighting”. Today I lost nine videos but others lost hundreds or more. If you were affected, do your part and let YouTube know. Save our sport!
After the complaints came flooding in about the takedown of their videos and strikes against channels, YouTube reinstated a lot of videos previously flagged for animal cruelty.
This is one of Jamison’s videos determined to have violated restrictions by showing animal cruelty:
On YouTube’s help page, it goes into grave detail about what sort of violent and graphic content isn’t allowed on the page. It’s clearly stated that prohibited videos include ‘where animals are encouraged or coerced to fight by humans’.
While YouTube is quick to reinstate videos if found that algorithms have misjudged what videos violate their policies, there is a chance that videos uploaded on old channels may not get reinstated because creators may not use that particular channel anymore.
Thankfully though robot combat videos still have a place on the biggest video-sharing website in the world. It remains to be seen whether as AI gets more advanced, these robots will one day be classed as animals.
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Matt Weston is a lover of electric cars, artificial intelligence and space. From Cornwall, he’s a UCLan graduate that still dreams of being a Formula One driver in the very near future. Previously work includes reporting for regional newspapers and freelance video for the International Business Times.