March 25, 2013 at 5:39 PM ET
Despite what some mild Internet outrage may have you believing, YouTube isn't on a rampage against bullfighting videos. However, the video-sharing service did recently remove several YouTube channels containing gory bullfighting clips, prompting the mini-furor.
"YouTube is a place for people from all over the world to share videos and ideas," a YouTube spokesperson explained to NBC News. "But YouTube has rules, or Community Guidelines, that prohibit graphic material,"
"When videos are flagged by our users we review them on a case by case basis, age-restricting videos that may be unsuitable for younger viewers, and removing any that violate our Guidelines," she elaborated. "We also terminate the accounts of users who repeatedly violate our Guidelines."
This appears to be why what the Daily Dot's Michelle Jaworksi describes as a "a number of channels and videos that featured bloody bullfights" disappeared from YouTube. The channels which happened to have multiple violations of YouTube's Community Guidelines were kicked to the curb.
The Community Guidelines are broken down into various categories, one of which covers "shocking and disgusting" content:
The world is a dangerous place. Sometimes people do get hurt and it’s inevitable that these events may be documented on YouTube. However, it’s not okay to post violent or gory content that’s primarily intended to be shocking, sensational or disrespectful. If a video is particularly graphic or disturbing, it should be balanced with additional context and information. For instance, including a clip from a slaughter house in a video on factory farming may be appropriate. However, stringing together unrelated and gruesome clips of animals being slaughtered in a video may be considered gratuitous if its purpose is to shock rather than illustrate.
If someone posts a particularly graphic video — one of a bull being killed by a bullfighter, for instance — and another user flags the item, a member of the YouTube staff will review it and make a judgment call along these lines. Sometimes, a video that's gruesome but acceptable under the guidelines gets an "age gate" added in order to prevent younger YouTube users from viewing it.
Shock for the sake of shock will most likely get yanked, assuming it's been flagged. If a user happens to have multiple videos removed due to an issue like this, then his or her entire YouTube channel may be banished, though there's an appeals process, in case a user feels that YouTube staff made the wrong decision.
After reading about the supposed YouTube bullfighting ban, we searched for ... bullfighting. Within moments, we found plenty of clips from recent events, as well as some highlight reels spanning decades. While much of the content was violent — and nothing that we clicked on was "age-gated," likely since we were logged into our Google accounts — the most horrific videos we saw in our quick search appear to have been posted by those who protest bullfighting.
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