April 2, 2022

Dear YouTube,

What the actual heck? Here I was, innocently demonstrating how to install Nextcloud on a Linux VPS server. I just want to help other people liberate their data. Nextcloud is super cool and powerful and I want to share the good news. My video got a bunch of views and people seemed to find it really useful. Hooray!


Then suddenly, without warning, you can cancelled my completely innocuous video. I appealed, and you rejected my appeal with no explanation at all. You say my video contains "harmful and dangerous content". Really? What exactly is harmful and dangerous in this video? No reasonable person could find anything in this video that could be construed as "harmful".


Is this really about protecting viewers? Or is it about protecting your parent company? In the opening frames of my video I spoke about replacing proprietary services like Dropbox, Google, and Apple. Was my video cancelled because it's dangerous to users, or because this idea is dangerous to your parent company?

The only remotely harmful and dangerous thing here is that people might switch away from centralized services like those provided by your parent company, to Free, Libre, and Open Source Software provided by awesome hackers working in the public good.

Of course, I have no recourse now. Your interface does not allow me any way to speak to a human being about this. I feel completely powerless to do anything about it.

I've read about this kind of thing happening to others, many times on Hacker News. I always thought it was just bad luck and that will never happen to me. I have also read this exact thing from people this happened to previously.

Here is the original video, hosted on Vimeo, just so everybody can see exactly how innocuous it is. It's literally a how-to video for installing Nextcloud on an Ubuntu VPS.

So if you're reading this and you host videos on YouTube, I implore you, please make sure you take backups. Make sure you have a second copy of your precious videos. Make sure you have a plan for hosting elsewhere in case you get cancelled too for no good reason.

If somebody from YouTube is willing to un-cancel my video and remove all strikes from my account, I will update this post.

Update: after engaging @TeamYouTube on Twitter the original video has been restored. I did not receive further correspondence from them. To migate against this happening again in future I will mirror my videos on multiple platforms.