The YouTube purge of conservative and right-wing channels as described by Tim Pool earlier this year has hit Japan hard recently with many high-profile and popular channels such as Tsuneyasu Takeda and Kazuya taken down for vague YouTube community violations, spam mostly.
This is not fringe but mainstream commentators who write books, major magazine articles and appear on Japanese TV. Tsuneyasu Takeda is a university professor whose family are descendants from the Meiji Emperor. You cannot get more mainstream than that.
The takedowns are exactly the ‘one strike you’re out purge’ method that Tim Pool describes under the YouTube spam violation policies.
Takeda and Kazuya have both setup new YouTube Channels while their cases and uploaded catalog are ‘reviewed’ but subscriber numbers are way down as you’d expect. Pre-purge Kazuya had 490,000 subscribers, now he has 38,000. If YouTube’s intention here is to disrupt Japanese conservative commentators ahead of Japanese Diet elections due later this year, they certainly achieved that.
Regardless of politics I think YouTube’s purge first review later (if ever) action for dubious reasons is deplorable. This has already thrown a chill on Japanese online communities. Japanese take pride in listening to and respecting opinions of others even if they don’t agree with them. I think a lot of younger Japanese, and bloggers will think twice before trusting YouTube, or Google again.
The Japanese response to YouTube’s purge of the Kazuya Channel was so overwhelming that 3 hours after informing Kazuya that the YouTube review of his channel confirmed that it violated YouTube spam policies, without giving any specifics, and would not be reinstated, he received yet another email stating that the YouTube review found his channel did not violate spam policies and was reinstated. Again without offering any details or explanation. Kazuya thanked his followers in a comeback video but observed that YouTube’s actions may have damaged its reputation in Japan.
It already has.
Unfortunately the YouTube purge is spreading to Twitter.