My YouTube Channel Got Removed and How I Got It Back


Recently, my YouTube channel and account was permanently removed without any warning beforehand by mistake by the YouTube team. I was not able to watch any video with my account on YouTube and the appeal process was confusing. This is an extremely frustrating experience, because I considered myself behaved on Internet for most of the time and should not deserve being treated like a criminal.

In this blog post, I would like to share my experiences of how my YouTube channel got removed, how I appealed to YouTube, ow I got my YouTube channel back, some lessons that I learned, and more importantly my feelings.

My YouTube Channel Got Removed

September 22nd, 2022 is a historic day for me. At 3:41 AM PST, I got an Email from YouTube with a subject title of “Lei Mao, we have removed your channel from YouTube”. In the text, The YouTube team told me that “We have reviewed your content and found severe or repeated violations of our Community Guidelines. Because of this, we have removed your channel from YouTube.” The Email was presented as follows.

My YouTube Channel Got Removed

When I just saw the Email, I immediately jumped and said “WTF” a hundred times. If it was only my YouTube channel and the uploaded videos got removed, I would not probably be that angry because I hardly uploaded videos to YouTube and there was only a few unimportant videos from mine. However, I immediately found that it was my entire YouTube service got removed, I could not even watch any YouTube video when I “logged in” whereas I could watch all the YouTube videos when I logged out, which was fucking ridiculous.

I then checked all the Emails to see if I have ever got any messages from YouTube previously warning my “violations” but could not find any. YouTube must have removed my channel without any warning beforehand!

In the Email, the YouTube team did not tell me anything specific about my “violations”. They allow me to appeal, but in the appeal form, I would have to “explain why you think your channel was suspended in error.”

Describe Your Sin If You Want Us to Cancel the Death Sentence

This is again, fucking ridiculous. This is just like someone walking on the street, arrested by the police for no reason, treated as a criminal without a trial, got sentenced to death without any defense and legal assistance. The funny thing is that they still gave the person an opportunity to appeal, provided that the person confesses his crime which he probably have never committed!

Appeal to YouTube

Because I followed some YouTubers and wanted to continue watching their videos, I really wanted my channel or account back. I started to think of what the fuck I have done recently on YouTube, despite the fact that I don’t have any access to the YouTube history anymore.

What’s confusing to me was I don’t know if my channel got removed was because the videos that I uploaded or the comments that I made to the videos from others. Although it might sound like they removed your channel because your video content violates the regulation, the community guideline also includes the regulation about the comments.

I tried very hard to remember all the videos that I have uploaded previously. I thought I have five videos. Three are the demos of the games or programs that I created a few years ago, one is a wildlife video that I just shot a few months ago during a journey of hiking. The remaining video, although very suspicious to be the cause of my channel removal, is a private video that nobody can access but me. It’s a three-minute half-year old video clip from one of my favorite Japanese animes “Mobile Suit Gundam SEED” which was broadcast in Japan between 2002 and 2003, which might have copyright issues. But I just could not understand why YouTube would permanently remove an account because of a short private anime clip that has copyright issues without any warning, even though they could have deleted the videos that have copyright issues without getting my permission. There are also thousands of YouTubers, some of which are extremely famous and popular, uploading long Japanese anime clips everyday. Why the fuck their channel never got removed?

I also tried very hard to remember my comment activities to the videos from others, which was even more difficult. I might have mocked some YouTubers, who liked to post videos about science and nature but the videos are full of flaws, that they are idiots and know nothing about science and nature. But even if I did that I would not do it very often. Not to mention I was not even sure I must have done that on YouTube. I was sure that I have mocked some video makers or some characters in the videos saying they are idiot in some other Chinese video platforms, such as Bilibili and DouYu, but my account was never removed or suspended, not even for a single day! You probably know how strict the Chinese websites controls the speech and comments. Since they never thought my comments were inappropriate, how could YouTube?

Finally, I created an appeal letter and sent it to YouTube. What’s funny was that they only allow 1000 characters in the letter. My letter was as follows.

Hello YouTube,

I got an email notifying me that my YouTube channel, which I hardly use, was removed without any warning beforehand. Because of this, I was not even able to use the YouTube account normally to watch YouTube videos.

I have uploaded a few videos to the YouTube channel in the past few years for the purpose of sharing videos with my friends. If I remember it correctly, there were two videos about the games that I created, the Chomp game and Snake game. There were also a few videos about wild lives that I shot during my hiking journeys. None of those seem have violated the YouTube guidelines. The most suspicious source of violation might be a probably private anime video clip from the Japanese anime “Mobile Suit Gundam SEED” that I uploaded a few months ago, because it might have violated the YouTube copyright policy. If my YouTube channel was suspended because of this, please kindly delete the video and bring the YouTube channel back to me.

Thank you very much.

Basically I was pleading that even if my channel was suspended because of the private video of copyright issues please delete it and give me a chance.

In addition, I also tagged the YouTube team on Twitter asking them to look into this. A good number of my followers replied that their YouTube accounts also got suspended but YouTube just won’t give them back.

Surprisingly, the YouTube team that I tagged replied to me that they will look into this, indicating that there are YouTube maintainers monitoring the YouTube appeals via Twitter.

Got YouTube Channel Back

48 hours from my appeal submission, I still had got no response from YouTube, so I tagged them on Twitter. Fortunately, they replied and let me know that they are still investigating this.

60 hours from my appeal submission, I finally got an Email from YouTube with a subject title of “Lei Mao, we’ve reached a decision on your appeal”. Fortunately, my YouTube channel removal was a mistake from them and my YouTube channel was given back. The Email was presented as follows.

Got My YouTube Channel Back

After getting my YouTube channel back, I immediately checked my uploaded videos. As you can see, they are just very ordinary videos which can never violate any regulations.

Another side effect was my YouTube comments have been all removed somehow. But as a non-professional YouTuber, I don’t quite care about it.

Final Remarks

This 60-hour during which I was waiting for the response from YouTube was an extremely horrible experience. I could not imagine in the United States, whose people are proud of their freedom, democracy and human rights, there can be such an shameful thing. It’s an humiliation for both United States and me that I have never got any of my accounts permanently removed previously, including those from the social platforms in China, and my first account suspension experience was from YouTube, an video application in the United States. YouTube, if you see this blog post, you really have to stop behaving like a tyrant and start respecting the users. Such kind of permanent account removal without any warning and proper justification should not be from a company in the United States, as it violates the spirit of the United States.

Previously, I have seen lots of people, some of which are noble, whose social media or game account got suspended permanently for little or fabricated reasons from the applications in the United States, but I did not show sympathy to them. But now when this shit happened to me, I started to feel what they felt.

This kind of unreasonable account suspension makes me no longer trust the public platforms where I have been storing and sharing data. If I were a professional YouTuber who lives on the videos, I did not back up the videos that I uploaded to YouTube, and my YouTube channel was permanently suspended, I would not be able to get those videos back, which is an extremely huge loss. I start to think to back up all of my key data routinely in multiple places so that if any of them got permanently removed by the platform for no reason I will still have the copies.


Lei Mao

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