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YouTube thought my Steam Deck video was 'harmful and dangerous'

By - | Views: 29,031

Here is your daily dose of what the heck? YouTube and the mighty algorithm decided for no apparent reason, that my Steam Deck video was "harmful and dangerous".

Over the last few months the GamingOnLinux YouTube channel has managed to gain around triple the amount of followers it once had. This is mainly due to the Steam Deck, and my decision to cover updates to it both in articles and in short concise videos (and people seem to really like the format).

According to YouTube though, this video was just a step too far:

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An email lands in my inbox from YouTube, noting it was removed for violations against their "harmful and dangerous policy". That's right, the Steam Deck is a dangerous weapon and we should all need to carry around a license or something? Perhaps having two of them and dual-wielding is just too much for YouTube.

Thankfully, after going through the appeals process, the video was restored.

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It's another reminder that moderation bots are stupid and having all your eggs in one basket is not a great idea either.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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About the author -
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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly.
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52 comments
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Kimyrielle 19 Aug
It's generally a disturbing development when a handful of super-large corporations unilaterally decide what we can see, post or access on the internet. These people are deciding on content rules in some conference rooms that affect us all, without having any democratic legitimization to do that. Deciding what content or service is illegal is the elected government's job, not Google's, Meta's or Apple's. It's about high-time to pass legislation that services cannot deny or limit user access to any information or service that's legal in the user's jurisdiction.
tfk 19 Aug
Well it is dangerous. Strong risk of addiction? People may get the urge to install a totally free os on their other systems? A device which is repair friendly? Running ROMs from other parties on it *cough* Nintendo *couch*?

All bad influences.
Quoting: robvvHarmful and Dangerous to the Windows ecosystem, maybe?
Microsoft has YouTube bots on payroll lmao
I guess the video made the bot really hot and bothered. It's probably grumbling now about why don't the humans understand the scandalous raw sexuality of that alluring Steam Deck getting sizzling updates right there on screen!
Pengling 19 Aug
If anyone else here enjoys food-science and debunking videos, they might already know of something similar that happened to a video by a food-scientist/debunking expert called Ann Reardon recently, who warned about and explained the science behind a lethal "craft hack" found all over YouTube that's on record as having killed dozens of people around the world at the time of writing.

It got quite high up in the search results for the dangerous topic, thus acting as a warning, but was then suddenly removed by YouTube, who left the many dangerous tutorial videos up, and removed the debunking video for being "harmful and dangerous"! It was down for several days, which affected its placement in searches and promotions, thanks to The Algorithm. (I'm not one for conspiracy theories, but I admit that this one made me raise an eyebrow considering how profitable "craft hacks" videos are known to be. )

Obviously, in this case with Liam's video we can laugh at how stupid it is and I'm sure that the video's gaming subject-matter will help get it back on track more easily post-reinstatement, but this is why better human reviewing is needed, because it's also happening with actually-dangerous topics that those who don't know better can easily gain access to. As one of the viewers of the creator I previously mentioned, I feel obliged to note that YouTube has policies against life-endangering pranks but not against life-endangering "craft hacks", and I can tell you from experience with my younger relatives that kids search for easy arts and crafts on YouTube all the time.


Last edited by Pengling on 19 August 2022 at 5:41 pm UTC
lectrode 19 Aug
The "How your content violated the policy" is pretty telling:
QuoteContent that shows viewers how to gain unauthorized free access to audio content, audiovisual content, full video games, software or streaming services that normally require payment is not allowed. This policy applies to videos, video descriptions, comments, live streams, and any other YouTube product or feature. Keep in mind that this list is not comprehensive.

Somehow the algorithm marked the video basically as piracy (or explaining how to pirate video games / software).

It would be interesting to know exactly what in the video caused it to do that. That's one of the rare videos Liam posts that doesn't include gameplay footage, only changelogs of steam os.

If I had to guess, it may have been the mention of a software version that isn't currently available yet (steam os 3.4 beta update). The algorithm may have mistook the intent of the video as being how to get it early and/or leaked or somesuch.


Last edited by lectrode on 19 August 2022 at 5:42 pm UTC
randyl 19 Aug
For channel authors YouTube may suck, but for consumption YouTube is pretty good. I watch the channels I like and subscribe to and rarely watch their content suggestions. I occasionally search for some songs I might not find on Spotify or Apple Music. So, for me YT is decent enough for what it does.

Curiosity Stream/Nebula isn't any better and they charge a premium now to view indie/non-mainstream content ($80/year). Odysee isn't very good at all. The content is low quality and sparse and their search and performance is subpar (I'm being kind). There aren't any "good guy" options out there right now.

On the plus side, now I know GoL has a YT channel and I subscribed.
Quoting: lectrodeThe "How your content violated the policy" is pretty telling:
QuoteContent that shows viewers how to gain unauthorized free access to audio content, audiovisual content, full video games, software or streaming services that normally require payment is not allowed. This policy applies to videos, video descriptions, comments, live streams, and any other YouTube product or feature. Keep in mind that this list is not comprehensive.

Somehow the algorithm marked the video basically as piracy (or explaining how to pirate video games / software).

It would be interesting to know exactly what in the video caused it to do that. That's one of the rare videos Liam posts that doesn't include gameplay footage, only changelogs of steam os.

If I had to guess, it may have been the mention of a software version that isn't currently available yet (steam os 3.4 beta update). The algorithm may have mistook the intent of the video as being how to get it early and/or leaked or somesuch.
Despite my earlier all-out personalization of the bot , I don't think that what these algorithms do is close enough to human thinking patterns to coherently talk about the algorithm "mistaking the intent" of something. The algorithm flags words and word patterns that have often in the past matched up (according to human programmers or "trainers") with other word pattern examples; it knows not what their intent might be, either the examples or the ones it flags.
Klaas 19 Aug
Quoting: randylFor channel authors YouTube may suck, but for consumption YouTube is pretty good.
It depends. The next video recommendations have a tendency to point towards conspiracy theories, dangerous crafts hacks and other weird stuff.

Some of the age gate flags are very weird. A few years ago people started abusing the system to soft ban some music videos by a German TV station that made fun of Putin although there wasn't anything age sensitive at all.

Quoting: lectrodeIt would be interesting to know exactly what in the video caused it to do that.
Maybe the discussing changelog. Too much text on the screen. It seems that many of the videos that instruct the viewers in questionable methods of software acquisition write URLs in a text editor.
randyl 19 Aug
Quoting: Klaas
Quoting: randylFor channel authors YouTube may suck, but for consumption YouTube is pretty good.
It depends. The next video recommendations have a tendency to point towards conspiracy theories, dangerous crafts hacks and other weird stuff.

Some of the age gate flags are very weird. A few years ago people started abusing the system to soft ban some music videos by a German TV station that made fun of Putin although there wasn't anything age sensitive at all.

Quoting: lectrodeIt would be interesting to know exactly what in the video caused it to do that.
Maybe the discussing changelog. Too much text on the screen. It seems that many of the videos that instruct the viewers in questionable methods of software acquisition write URLs in a text editor.
I get what you're saying, but like I mention in the post you quoted, I typically don't look at their content recommendations, just my channel subscriptions. The recommendations on my page personally aren't filled with conspiracy theory stuff so much as content I'm just not interested in. Also, the top section of recommendations are all channels I follow so I see tech and music stuff mostly, except for the one comedian I follow (Eleanor Morton). Down below that are all the stuff they think I'll like or want to push at me. Gamers Nexus is probably the most socially provocative channel I have so most of my recommendations are "boring" anyway.

The big takeaway I got from watching Liam's video post about the issue is that having a dialog with a real person about the specifics is nearly impossible. That is true for issues with other Google services as well and one of the big reasons I avoid using their services when at all possible. I'm not sure there is much that can be done about it.


Last edited by randyl on 19 August 2022 at 6:33 pm UTC
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