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India, US, Brazil top countries where most YouTube videos flagged by users

India continues to top the list of countries since October 2017 from which YouTube receives flags for suspected violation of its community guidelines. (See YouTube’s released data here.) India maintained its top spot in the July-September quarter of the current fiscal year, and is followed by United States, with Brazil as the second runner-up among the countries, from where YouTube receives maximum alerts of the YouTube guideline violations.

The report elaborates on the total number of videos, channels and content removed in the last quarter, and the reasons behind the removals. Human flaggers flagged 10,469,600 videos from July to September 2018. The list does not elaborate on the number of flag-requests per country.

Content flagged per quarter by humans
July-September, 2018: 10,469,600
April-June, 2018:  9,536,606
January- March, 2018: 12,056,911
October-December, 2017: 9,241,154

Following is a table of why videos were removed and when, globally:

Flagging reasons July – Sept 2018 April – June 2018 Jan – Mar 2018  Oct – Dec 2017
Spam or misleading 11,645,592 9,956,700 11,656,483 7,795,881
Sexual 10,589,195 10,454,768 10,985,233 9,093,817
Hateful or abusive 7,432,077 6,604,988 5,870,797 4,721,741
Violent or repulsive 5,455,981 4,887,433 4,859,844 4,093,671
Harmful dangerous acts 3,408,582 2,977,555 2,868,288 2,302,280
Child abuse 2,406,643 2,108,699 1,936,090 1,570,532
Promotes terrorism 1,062,893 995,803 903,578 490,665
Other 27 16 17 52

All following data is for the July-September 2018 quarter unless indicated otherwise

Total channels removed

For the July to September 2018 quarter, YouTube removed 1,667,587 channels – all the videos (50.2 million videos) from these channels were also removed. A majority of channels were terminated because of spam or adult sexual content, in violation of the YouTube guidelines.

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Removal reason Removal amount
Spam, misleading and scams 468,458
Nudity or sexual 73,974
Child safety 26,529
Multiple policy violations 8,363
Impersonation 5,271
Promotion of violence and violent extremism 3,303
Harassment and cyberbullying 1,757
Hateful or abusive 524
Violent or graphic 328
Other 164
Harmful or dangerous 43

A YouTube channel is terminated if:

  • it violates three community guidelines in 90 days
  • has a single case of severe abuse (such as predatory behavior)
  • it is determined to be wholly dedicated to violating YouTube guidelines such as spam accounts.

Removed videos

For the July to September quarter, YouTube removed 7,845,400 videos. Of the total videos, a majority, i.e. over 6.3 million were removed due to automated flagging.

Flagging user Videos removed
Automated flagging 6,387,658
Individual trusted flagger 878,273
User 547,142
NGO 32,293
Government agency 34

YouTube, in its report, says that a “trusted flagger” includes individuals, NGOs and government agencies which are particularly effective at notifying YouTube of content that violates its community guidelines. The following table elaborates the criteria for which videos were removed.

Removal reason Removal amount
Spam, misleading and scams 1,985,751
Child safety 279,550
Nudity or sexual 272,627
Violent or graphic 94,400
Other 61,131
Harmful or dangerous 22,580
Harassment and cyber-bullying 18,848
Promotion of violence and violent extremism 10,394
Hateful or abusive 6,195


Of the total reported videos, about 25.5% were removed before any views and 74.5% after. 

Violent extremism content removed

YouTube has removed 10,394 videos in all that violated YouTube’s policies against violent extremism. These include:

  • Videos by government-listed foreign terrorist organizations. YouTube specifies that it does not permit terrorist organisation to use YouTube for any purpose including recruitment.
  • Content that promotes, glorifies or incites acts of terrorism or violence.
  • YouTube also removes content produced by violent extremist groups, which are not government listed foreign terrorist organisations. These videos are covered under ‘hateful, violent or graphic content’ and may be intended to be shocking, sensational or gratuitous.

Child Safety

YouTube also removed 279,550 videos which were deemed inappropriate or dangerous to minors. These include:

  • Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM)
  • Sexually explicit content like pornography
  • Online harassment or bullying

Comments removed

YouTube has removed 224,440,949 comments which violated it community guidelines. Of the total comments removed, 99.5% were detected through automated flagging and 0.5% were detected through human flagging.

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