Automated algorithms may not be infallible when it comes to detecting objectionable content on social media; it has emerged after YouTube admitted to the “error” of flagging several robo-combat videos on the grounds that they include "deliberate infliction of animal suffering or the forcing of animals to fight."
On Monday, several YouTube users complained that their content had been removed due to YouTube's restrictions on animal fight footage — despite the videos just showing robots fighting.
Jamison Go, who competed in the last season of BattleBots, said he received a takedown notice from YouTube for nine videos, including this one.
“Robot builders across the world cried out in agony as YouTube’s algorithm falsely identified personal videos of robot sport as "animal cruelty" and "cock fighting,"” the Research assistant at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) wrote on Facebook.
Sarah Pohorecky, who also competed in the last season of BattleBots, said her YouTube channel was also affected.
"I'd say off my head that at least 10-15 builders have been affected," she told Vice in a Facebook message. "Some had a number of videos removed, while others only had one or two out of many robot videos on their channels [removed]."
YouTube confirmed that the videos were removed in “error”.
"With the massive volume of videos on our site, sometimes we make the wrong call," a YouTube spokesperson told Futurism. "When it's brought to our attention that a video has been removed mistakenly, we act quickly to reinstate it."