YouTube & Harassment

I’m supposed to be writing other stuff right now, but damn. This post isn’t about silly little trolls in their silly little worlds trying to bait angry reactions out of people. It’s about the way they’re dealt with on public sites when they cross the boundaries of ‘aww, isn’t the little troll cute’ into ‘wow – it’s NOT OKAY to say that’.

Some time last week Machinima posted a rather tacky, tasteless and pretty all-around cringeworthy for BOTH genders video. I was delighted to see the general tone of the comments were, from as many men as women, ‘this is just horrible’. The video’s gone now (yay!), but I did leave a comment on there expressing my happiness at seeing the overall negative response the video was getting, and signed it ‘from a female videogame player’. One user responded to my comment thusly;

nobody gives a fuck. stay mad youll never be that hot. kill yourself

I don’t usually bother giving those people the time of day but I guess I had nothing better to do than sling poop at trolls when I saw the comment, and went back and replied ‘Ah, another lonely little boy’.

Then I got this private message from the user:

you reek of pseudo-intellectual. youre just another ugly slut that uses the title of gamer girl to attract all the omega autists of the world.

I hope you get raped and beaten in front of the person you love the most in this world.

Judging by the technical grasp of English (or lack thereof) displayed in his other comments around YouTube I’m guessing he either got someone to write that for him, or saw it being used elsewhere and employed his magnificent Copy-Pasta skills to save it for later. Anyway, I digress. I get a lot of stock-misogynistic comments, usually about getting back in the kitchen and ‘boobs or GTFO’, but this was a bit worse than the usual. I reported it to YouTube. This is YouTube’s harassment reporting window;


You’ll note there are fields for linking to public content. The form will not let you send unless you’ve linked to public content, either a comment on a video or comments on a channel, even if you’ve filled in details of a private message in the ‘additional notes’ box below. I HAD to link to public content before I was able to submit the form. Fortunately for me, the user seemed to have a hobby of finding videos with black people in and calling them niggers, so I wasn’t short of examples to link.

Today I received the following response from YouTube:

Action Taken

Thank you for your report of harassment. We have removed the relevant content you identified within your report.

I went and looked at the guy’s channel. You know what they’ve done? They’ve deleted ONLY the content I reported, and the account is still there. Not only is the account still there, but he’s still flaming abuse;

shut the fuck up moral fag

Apparently being sent a private message from a user wishing you’ll be ‘raped and beaten in front of the person you love most in this world’ is not enough for an account ban. It’s not even enough for an account ban when five or six ‘shut the fuck up, nigger’ -esque comments are included with the report. YouTube are perfectly happy to let that user stay there hurling abuse at people, even though it’s in YouTube’s community guidelines that hate speech against minority groups is not tolerated.

Which part of ‘not tolerated’ do you not understand, YouTube?

  • John Connors

    Considering they delete AdSense accounts at the drop of a hat (or click of a mouse), this is a bit much to take.

    • Hah, true that. “We think maybe someone possibly perhaps MIGHT have been spam-clicking one of your ads and we don’t even know if it was you or someone else but BAM ADSENSE BLOCKED” vs “this guy sent you threats of rape? Ok, we’ll keep an eye on him.”

      • telling people to get raped doesn’t mean any potential earnings that Google was cut out of :P.

        Should have said that the person wanted you to get raped, so they could sell it for 20$
        Google would have been all over that shit.

  • Alexander

    Hi from Russia.Why bother? Shitwriters and trolls always be in the internet and always will be,all report forms in my opinion also made by companies to say that they have this option and try to make order(illusion of the order) in reality they don’t give a damn.Relax and forget,those poor bastards can write only in internet in real life they are usually silent and don’t allow to say something like they usually write cause harsh words can result in kicked ass.

    • Hello, Russia!

      I see your point – on one hand it’s a relatively small thing to spend so much effort on. On the other hand, it’s a contributor to a wider scale culture that’s preventing a lot of women from feeling comfortable on the internet, from playing games, and from existing in the gaming industry in general. Nothing great was ever achieved by sweeping problems under the rug and ignoring them. We need to say ‘it’s not okay’ to these people, to point out that it won’t be tolerated in our ideal society. Otherwise, they’ll always be there – or worse, they’ll see they can get away with it, and it’ll get worse.

    • Yes. these people say what they say because they hide behind a screen and because people cannot find where they live, but if they said those things to someone’s face….well, they wouldn’t because they know they’d get cursed out or beat down. Punks.

  • L

    ‘moral fag’ is a typical 4chan comment, the spawn of much of the hate on the Internet. This particular is mostly a young male, and probably terrifyingly normal in real life. What can you do against this sort of thing? Expose it, report it, challenge it, I suppose, but this sort of stuff is seen as acceptable and pretty normal on the Internet. I’m struggling to see how any meaningful change can occur.

    • “Any meaningful change” will NEVER occur as long as “this sort of stuff is seen as acceptable and pretty normal on the Internet”. It doesn’t matter where it’s from or who’s doing it – respect is deserved no less on the internet than anywhere else. It doesn’t matter if I’m posting a comment on a forum or raising my hand at a public speech – it’s not okay to tell me you hope I get raped and beaten, anywhere, under any circumstance – and it’s not okay to ignore it as ‘normal and accepted’. As I said in a reply below, nothing significant ever happened from ignoring problems.

  • I’m not sure where to start, in order to change things, but I can at least start by teaching my kids about what not to say. It’s small, but it’s a start :

    I’ll see if I can’t get a YouTube contact and ask about their PM policy.

    • Thanks! Yeah, it’s as good a starting point as any. Raising awareness, speaking up about it happening and that it’s not right and shouldn’t be tolerated.

  • I went to YouTube and filed a complaint based on this comment and linked your blog post as well.

    Hopefully if enough people do that, YouTube will do something.

    • Thank you! Much appreciated. I just saw that comment. As far as I’m concerned, youtube not taking hard action against users like that is equivalent to condoning it.

  • I’ve reported harrassment to Youtube plenty of times (since Youtube is a festering ground for nasty cowards hiding behind computer screens). Once, I also reported an abusive user who also uses the N word. Each time, I get same response: that there was no violation. How is abuse, threats and racism not violation??
    Anyway, I just reported another user because he took his harrassment to my inbox and kept doing it after I told him to stop. He even issued a mild threat. I reported him and copy/pasted all 3 of his inbox messages in the notes. I hope something is taken seriously.
    Youtube has bad policing. Twitter is good (in my experience, anyway) because they actually suspended 2 or 3 people I reported.
    Youtube needs to take negatives more seriously. They act like they don’t care.

    • I’ve never had a problem on Twitter. In fact, I’ve even sometimes gone to report someone only to find they’ve already been suspended. They’re faaaar better than YT. Thanks for visiting and commenting! 🙂

      • You’re welcome and no problem for the comment! Yes, Twitter is much better than YT for sure. They take problems seriously and their policies for reporting are better, too. They include issues that should be in policies. : )

  • Mahmood Akaad

    I have had issues with YouTube trolls just recently and was forced to close my account. These trolls were going back to videos I have commented on a long time ago and harassing me from there. I did blocked them but even if trolls are blocked, they can still be subbed to you, which makes no sense at all. Even though they were blocked, they were still able to reply to my comments on other people’s videos. I have decided I have had enough and just left. It seems to me that YouTube supports trolls. I tried reporting them and nothing at all got done and they’re accounts are still active today. I am starting to think that making the internet public accessible was a bad idea and mistake.

    • it’s insane. I’m sorry you went through that. *hug*