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The Iona Blog

The tale of YouTube and The Iona Institute

Author: David Quinn
Date: 22nd January 2013

I came into work this morning only to discover that the Iona Institute’s YouTube account had been terminated. Yes, that was the word used, ‘terminated’. Yikes.

An email from YouTube told us the reason was that we had violated YouTube’s ‘Terms of Service’. What in the world had we done to suffer such a fate?

I began to receive phone calls from journalists wondering the same thing. What terrible thing had we done? I could only speculate that the problem was the video explaining the case for traditional marriage that we posted on our YouTube account last month.

This video has caused consternation among some supporters of same-sex marriage and has even spawned a rather good parody video (the ultimate compliment!)

Had YouTube received a sufficient number of complaints to trigger the termination of our account? But I wondered if this could be true, because other organisations have similar videos to our own on YouTube, so why hadn’t their accounts been terminated as well?

Then, this afternoon, our account was reinstated. YouTube had decided we hadn’t violated their terms of service after all.

Later, we got a call from Google (which runs YouTube) to say the reason they terminated our account was because we hadn’t  yet responded to an email they had sent us  a couple of weeks ago in response to one we had sent them. Had our email come from a spam account?

This triggered some kind of automatic procedure on their part, and that procedure seems just a little bit like overkill. They terminate your account and then leave the world to speculate about the awful thing you must have done to warrant such a drastic action.

So there it is. What a day.

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