YouTube suppressing evidence for the paranormal?

A paranormal group called Dorset Ghost Investigators (DGI) is alleging suppression of its investigation videos by YouTube, or by ‘someone big’ persuading YouTube to act against it.

In its latest video, which appeals for supporters to sign a petition against YouTube, a masked member of the group describes how YouTube issued two strikes against its account, warning that a further strike will result in cancellation. The group has begun a fund-raising campaign to raise $2,000 for a new website where it can host the videos for itself.

Should other paranormal groups be worried? Are the big social media sites really intent on suppressing what DGI claim they have obtained – i.e. ‘evidence for the paranormal’?

In the video, the group shows a copy of the message it received from YouTube, which takes exception to two videos entitled as follows:

  • BRITAINS GHOSTS INVESTIGATIONS!!! MUST WATCH
  • WEYMOUTH HAUNTED PUB PROOF GHOST BOX WORKS!!!
The message from YouTube

A screenshot from the DGI video, showing the message from YouTube.

It seems to me highly likely that these titles were the reason the videos were removed, regardless of their content. On YouTube’s ‘Partner Termination’ page, we read the following:

Don’t create misleading descriptions, tags, titles or thumbnails in order to increase views. It’s not okay to post large amounts of untargeted, unwanted or repetitive content, including comments and private messages.

‘MUST WATCH’ in that first title does not describe the content, and is clearly ‘in order to increase views’. I imagine ‘PROOF GHOST BOX WORKS’ may have fallen foul of the same regulation, or else YouTube may have interpreted it as spam.

It’s worth remembering that, in a market economy, YouTube doesn’t host our videos on its expensive hardware because it loves us. YouTube is part of Google. Google makes money through advertising on the back of the content we upload. If we don’t title our content nicely, Google can’t categorise it, and if it can’t categorise it, it can’t use it to make money.

DGI seems too quick to jump into the role of Fox Mulder and assume there is a conspiracy. It’s not because of ‘evidence for the paranormal’ that YouTube has turned against it. More likely it’s because the erratic titles of DGI’s videos make it hard to categorise and make money from them.

Actually, I’m not sure which scenario is worse. But anyway — and now, a word from our sponsor…

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