Google subsidiary YouTube has admitted that it made a mistake when, citing its policies against “deliberate infliction of animal suffering” such as “dog fighting and cock fighting,” it removed several videos of robots fighting, per reports in Motherboard and the Verge. The videos are again available.
According to Motherboard, the takedowns were first noted by YouTube channel Maker’s Muse and affected several channels run by BattleBots contenders, including Jamison Go of Team SawBlaze (who had nine videos taken down) and Sarah Pohorecky of Team Uppercut. Pohorecky told Motherboard she estimated some 10 to 15 builders had been affected, with some having had multiple videos removed. There didn’t appear to be any pattern in the titles of either the videos or the robots themselves, beyond some of the robots being named after animals, she added.
Here’s one of the videos that was removed from Jamison Go’s channel, in which neither animal suffering or cock fighting can be observed, but instead two badass robots named Speed Wedge and Ubersaw duking it out:
“With the massive volume of videos on our site, sometimes we make the wrong call,” a YouTube spokesperson told Motherboard. “When it’s brought to our attention that a video has been removed mistakenly, we act quickly to reinstate it. We also offer uploaders the ability to appeal removals and we will re-review the content.”
It’s not clear whether a human or one of YouTube’s infamously broken algorithms determined the content was in violation of the policies, though Pohorecky told Motherboard that a new interface for appealing takedowns introduced in July was actually more confusing than the previous one. In the meantime, YouTube has been making some progress not actually removing profiles linked to hate groups and white supremacist movements, so there’s that.