Video explanation here: https://youtu.be/Wy7Tvo-q63o
YouTube has taken discriminatory action against SBSK (YouTube.com/specialbooksbyspecialkids) and other channels that feature minors as part of an over-reaching effort to combat child predation on their platform. They have chosen channels at random and disabled all of their comments without any sort of transparency or real communication with creators. Their actions were not all-encompassing, rather many channels (especially those tied to large corporations and advertisers) have been left unaffected. They have no information for creators/communities on how long the comments will be disabled or if the action is permanent.
We at SBSK are fighting this blatant discrimination and censorship of the disability community. Our impact as a channel and a nonprofit is greatly limited without our comment section. We are heartbroken and angry for all that we have lost due to YouTube’s actions. Chris and I have advocated since receiving the initial notice last week, but our pleas and outrage have been ignored. We are asking you, our community across the globe, to rally around us and to fight this discrimination.
Please sign our petition and include a message demanding the immediate reinstatement of comments on SBSK’s channel.
You can read our full open letter to YouTube below:
On our channel, comments aren’t just “an important way for our team to engage with our community”… they are as paramount to the work we are doing and the positive global change we are trying to promote as the videos themselves.
Our comment section is where the individuals we feature often hear and experience societal acceptance for the first time. They are a place where information and tips are shared; where myths are dispelled and stigma challenged. They are a place, (one of the only public forums) where someone can be acknowledged as more than their diagnosis.
Our comment section is where dialogue happens. Where perspectives are challenged and widened. It is where empathy is found, fostered, and made commonplace.
To have lost our comment section is devastating for our team and our community. It is devastating to our mission and the neurodiversity movement that had found it’s voice on YouTube.
I appreciate your response, and while I believe there is a need to further protect minors on your platform, there has to be another way. Half of our mission is to show those we feature that society will accept them if they have the courage to put themselves out there. So far, every person I have interviewed has been met with an abundance of loving and supportive comments.
I am incredibly proud of SBSK’s followers and the empowerment and ownership they feel towards our channel. We have one of those most positive comment sections on the internet; one that is monitored by us and policed by our community who will accept nothing less than respect in those forums.
By choosing to move forward this way, YouTube will severely minimize our impact as a non-profit. In trying to do the right thing with an emphasis to protect your advertisers, you have genuinely hurt people and censored them. These individuals are not the pedophiles you were targeting, just collateral damage.
The disability community has fought too hard and long for it’s voice. I know there has to be a way that we can work together to support the protection of minors on YouTube without isolating and silencing the disability community once more. We ask that you consider us for the group of channels who will be allowed comments while working with you to moderate them.
Chris Ulmer and Alyssa Porter