YouTube Demonetizes Popular Australian Fishing Channel for ‘Animal Abuse’

By Daniel Y. Teng
Daniel Y. Teng
Daniel Y. Teng
September 21, 2021 Updated: September 21, 2021

A YouTube channel featuring recreational fishing videos has been demonetised by the video-sharing giant over supposed content featuring “animal abuse.”

The Australian-based content creator for Gido’s Fishing Adventures said his channel had been demonetised for a month and that he was waiting for a response from Google-owned YouTube.

“(YouTube’s notice) says I need to make adjustments to my content, and it’s to do with animal abuse apparently,” he said on his latest YouTube video. “You can actually read in there that what I’m doing is fine because I’m not abusing animals for shock, or whatever, which is what they’re against—which is fair enough, I’d be against it too—I’m just catching fish. “

Gido said he received an email from YouTube notifying him that a “significant portion” of his content was against its policies. However, he noted that he had been uploading similar videos for an extended period.

Epoch Times Photo
Notification to Gido’s Fishing Adventures that their channel was demonetised (Screenshot provided to The Epoch Times)

“I’ve also got my 100,000-subscriber plaque in the mail,” he said, in reference to the Silver Creator Award that gets delivered to YouTube channels with over 100,000 subscribers.

“I asked for it two weeks ago, and they check over your content, and they check your channel before they send it—and they did—and they sent it out to me and said everything was good.”

“I’m confused; I don’t know what’s happening,” he said. “This is a major problem for me because the bulk of my income comes from YouTube these days. And I’m not getting paid anything.”

YouTube has yet to respond to Gido and to inquiries from The Epoch Times.

Rob Nicholls, associate professor of regulation and governance at the University of New South Wales, described Youtube’s demonetisation program as an “intermediate step” in its content moderation process.

“It is likely that this content was demonetised as part of an artificial intelligence analysis,” he told The Epoch Times. “To some extent, there is a parallel with the take-down of a chess channel on YouTube earlier in the year. In that case, expressions such as a ‘brutal attack by White on Black’ was a description of a chess match and not the race hate that the machine analysis found it to be.”

“For all social media, but especially video, there is a balance between allowing potentially harmful content to remain available to be distributed and taken down,” he added, noting that YouTube had reversed instances of accidental demonetisation.

Epoch Times Photo

In recent years, YouTube’s content moderation has received criticism from conservative-leaning media channels, including OAN and Sky News Australia, complaining that its policies are applied inconsistently.

In August, YouTube suspended Sky News’ channel for one week for allegedly posting “COVID-19 misinformation” while at the same time issuing a “first strike” against the 24-hour news channel—a warning under its three strikes policy.

Sky News CEO Paul Whittaker said the video-sharing giant’s review policies lacked transparency and were “incapable of compliance.”

“Unlike other publishers’ policies, YouTube’s process for review and removal of content lacks transparency and a clearly articulated process which affords channel operators the opportunity to address concerns or to challenge an assessment prior to a suspension occurring,” he said.

“With no transparency provided, Sky News took the proactive approach of removing a batch of videos all published during 2020 from online platforms to ensure ongoing compliance with YouTube’s arbitrary editorial guidelines,” Whittaker said.

He also noted it was not an admission of failure to comply with YouTube’s regulations, but “merely an attempt to navigate opaque policies.”