Removal of Syrian war videos could erase evidence of human rights violations

Over the summer, YouTube removed thousands of videos of the Syrian civil war, flagging it as illegal content. Now, Syrian activists are concerned that YouTube’s content policy could mean that crucial evidence of human rights violations has disappeared. According to the Syrian Archive, which aims at preserving open source evidence of crimes committed in the Syrian conflict, about 180 channels were shut down since June, when YouTube started to sift through videos using machine learning methods. While the Syrian Archive managed to salvage around 400,000 videos, 150,000 videos remain lost, and are subject to YouTube’s decision on whether to reinstate them. According to the group’s co-founder, ‘this is very dangerous, because there is no alternative for YouTube’.