[artinfo] YouTube suspended channel with my films
oliver at ressler.at
Tue Aug 10 12:30:22 CEST 2021
Newsletter Oliver Ressler
YouTube suspended channel with my films
On August 2, 2021 YouTube deleted my entire
YouTube Channel without any prior warning or
communication. The email from YouTube reads:
"We have reviewed your content and found severe
or repeated violations of our Community
Guidelines. Because of this, we have removed your
channel from YouTube. [...] Spam, scams or
commercially deceptive content are not allowed on
The videos YouTube removed constitute an archive
of 31 films I made between 2000 and 2018. These
are films shown hundreds of times in exhibitions,
film festivals and social movement contexts. They
have appeared in several biennials and in museums
such as the Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid and the
Centre Pompidou, Paris.
I immediately appealed the removal of my YouTube
Channel, following the recommended steps. Since
then I have received no further response from
I began making complete films available on my
webpage and on Vimeo many years ago, but for a
long time I was reluctant to involve YouTube as
an additional online platform. I felt
uncomfortable about using a Google-controlled
platform for films centered on a critique of
capitalism, climate breakdown, forms of
organizing and resistance.
When I set up my YouTube Channel in 2020,
mid-pandemic, I did so for strategic reasons.
YouTube is not only the world's largest video
platform, it is also the second-largest search
engine. I hoped it might constitute a way to
reach people who neither visit art exhibitions
nor are politically organized.
But whether algorithmically or by direct human
intervention, YouTube has now declared my work a
"scam", slapping the epithet on a body of work
that often focuses critically corporate scams and
builds an archive of democratic organization.
I am not astonished that YouTube shut down my channel, but I am angry.
They shut down a platform summarily then
afterwards pretend to offer an appeal process.
This is like carrying out a punishment first, and
only then offering the penalized the opportunity
to appeal afterwards.
Just how seriously Google takes the right to
appeal is laid bare here by the lack of any
response from one of the world's richest
corporations after more than seven days. They
know very well that they operate in a lawless
field skewed in their favor.
What YouTube is engaged in here is outright
political censorship. They make use of their de
facto monopoly to act as they please.
Censorship is nothing new to me. I have
experienced it in various forms over the years.
What is different this time is that the censor is
not a state or province, but a private entity.
That a corporation is allowed to be in a position
to censor says a lot about the lack of democratic
oversight in the global media industry.
I believe democratic oversight will only ever be
achieved by collectivizing Google. And yes,
Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and all the
rest as well of course. This is a necessary step
to regain control over our lives.
In the meantime, if you see value in having these
films available on YouTube again, please consider
sharing this through your networks, tagging
YouTube. Concerted public opposition is the only
power that will make them reverse their decision,
the one thing that could ever influence their
There are two texts on this case:
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