Why Is Atheist Content Being Flagged As Inappropriate on YouTube?

Thunderf00t points out that YouTube appears to be banning videos that are “religiously offensive”… which means atheist videos (his included) are being taken down in spades.

… I got four videos taken down in half an hour, and a ‘privacy notifications’ against a further two…

The following videos were taken down, according to YT after review by their dedicated members who determined these videos violated terms of use. This can only make sense if its ‘Youtube-Malaysia: Theocratic Chapter’. Malaysia is the place that recently sent a guy back to Saudi where he may face death for merely making three vanilla tweets about Islam. For me it doesnt seem impossible that there is an element of disconnect between what ‘Youtube Malaysia’ and the rest of the world regard as religiously offensive.

I can only hope that it really is this simple, that it’s just an error by an overzealous censor. If its a change in policy, its an ill wind that doesn’t blow anyone any good.

How can you help fix this?

Voice your concerns. Point out that religious criticism is not equivalent to hate speech. Pass that video along so that others can see what qualifies as “offensive.”

(In case that video gets taken down, The Thinking Atheist has a mirror here.)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Michael

    Be sure to use a second video hosting site as well. Youtube has been playing games with its users for a while, it needs to lose market share to competitors.

  • Michael

    Okay, I thought I’d commented already but it’s not showing.

    Still, if you want to put up a backup video in case youtube deletes a video, wouldn’t you rather put it on a different video hosting site? Dailymotion springs to mind.

  • http://www.quietatheist.com/ Slugsie

    Maybe getting a few high profile religious videos taken down as being offensive to FSMism will wake people up and stop this BS. After all atheism is a religion – according to a lot of theists anyway. That means we can get religiously offended, and thus have videos taken down.

    • Alchemist

      That was my immediate thought too! I’m not in class today so I know what I’ll be doing for the next few hours.

      • Michael

        It says “religiously offensive” not offensive to religion, there’s no need to play the FSM card. If it’s offensive due to religious content make a complaint.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ORRVVC5R2QWLTXEM6SX5L6BORE Jay Arrrr

    Would seem that You Toob has fallen under Sharia Law….

  • Tainda

    Kind of reminds me of the policy here at work,  christian websites are allowed but almost all atheist websites are banned.  I’m surprised I can get on this one.

    • ragarth

       Patheos isn’t an atheist website. There’s a large number of religious blogs on this site–check out the main page: http://www.patheos.com

  • ChunxOfEarth

    I had made a video addressing these concerns before I did my own research, along with AtheistAussie. It seems to be the case that thunderf00t only cares about freedom of speech when it concerns HIM. When other people have been the victim of false flags, false DMCAs, etc. tf00t was silent as a clam. Upon further investigation it is clear that there is no policy change, and many other people that you would think would be getting flagged, are in fact, NOT. YouTube is losing money hand over fist, and it is in their best interest to try and get as many advertisers as possible using their website. Fewer advertisers are likely to feel comfortable putting themselves on an atheist, or anti-theist channel. The second reason for this new campaign could be related to the sudden surge in ridiculous nonsense, lies, and disinformation being spread by the GOP candidates. It just seems more than a coincidence that this is happening while Santorum is leading in the polls. Until a serious pattern develops, I refuse to be as alarmed as I was two days ago. Don’t panic.

    • Anonymous

      Oh hey, a thunderf00t hater. You guys are as bad as creationists. 

      Try not to lie when the record is easy to look up, will you? When Potholer was DMCA’d a few months back Tf00t jumped to his defense. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pd58NLB-c6k&feature=channel_video_title

      See?

      Nice try, though.

  • Tinker

    Since I consider the Mormon message to be hate speech in and of itself, can I get those “I’m a Mormon” ads banned?

  • Alchemist

    The reason WHY this has been done doesn’t really matter. These videos may have been taken down with the best and most loving intentions but that doesn’t make it right. Fundies who want to impose biblical law upon us do so believing they are right too. Do THEIR intentions make it right? Of course not! It may not be as big of a deal but the same principal applies.
    I see this censorship as the thin edge of the wedge and must be dealt with swiftly.
    As to Thunderf00t, have you considered he may not have known about the other videos being removed? Have you asked him before you posted those comments about what he thinks and the motivations for his in/actions? It would be most unfortunate were you to besmirch his character without doing the research. You may have said those things with the best of intentions, but if they are untrue your intentions don’t make it right do they?

  • Trina

    Perhaps there hasn’t been a formal policy change, but it would appear that something odd is going on with policy interpretation/enforcement.  The situation definitely bears watching.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000310776285 Jonathan Cuellar

    I’ve suggested an I AM THUNDERF00T campaign where supporters download his banned vids from the mediafile links then upload them to their own respective Youtube channels in response to Youtube’s flagrantly arbitrary use of TOS. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000310776285 Jonathan Cuellar

    Well it seems as of 46 minutes ago, Thunderf00t posted this on Youtube:

    “All the videos are back! MANY thanks to everyone who made this
    possible, to those who ensured that ‘its my religion’ does not equal
    ‘immunity from criticism’ on youtube. A BIG Thank you everyone whose
    support made this possible!”


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