YouTube and Twitch are direct competitors, offering their creators and streamers very similar tools to create videos, but that doesn’t mean people don’t often use both services.
That’s apparently becoming a bit of an issue. A number of creators have tweeted recently about YouTube terminating their accounts following uploads of videos teasing an upcoming Twitch stream. Many of these complaints are accompanied by further frustrations that creators were given no previous warning their accounts were in danger, leading to questions about whether YouTube was trying to cut down on users promoting their work on other sites.
Surny, Linus Tech Tips and Aztrosizt are three YouTube creators who experienced this issue recently, bringing their cases to Twitter and asking people to help them figure out what’s going on.
“YouTube continues to clamp down,” Linus Tech Tips tweeted. “Just got a strike for posting a video letting our subscribers know the WAN Show is live. Basically they are mad we are publicizing our stream on Twitch. Yet another move towards YouTube owning the audience rather than the creators having control of that relationship.
“To be clear these guidelines have existed for a long time. The enforcement is new.”
Surny shared similar feelings, tweeting that while he understood the videos may technically violate YouTube’s terms of service, the issue fell on accounts facing immediate termination without any warning.
“My account was terminated without warning for a single video/strike,” Surny said. “I do not believe that this is rightful. I do accept taking a single strike for a stream announcement video, but terminating the entire channel instantly is not rightful.”
Surny followed up on Twitter to point out, like Linus Tech Tips did, that YouTube is only now enforcing it through more extreme measures.
“I can see it cause ToS [terms of service], yadda yadda so like, it’s at least remotely valid, even though they decided to only enforce their rules now and not like, 6 months ago when I started making stream announcements,” Surny wrote. “But it’s still pretty unnecessary.”
They’re right to some extent. YouTube does have specific rules in place when it comes to driving people off-site, which is what these types of videos are specifically designed to do. YouTube states under its spam, deceptive practices and scam section of its community guidelines that:
It’s not okay to post large amounts of untargeted, unwanted, or repetitive content in videos, comments, private messages, or other places on the site. If the main purpose of your content is to drive people off of YouTube and onto another site, it will likely violate our spam policies.
Despite YouTube’s policy, people are pointing to the company’s recent enforcement — and the severe actions taken — as the major issue.
“I know of channels that were making stream announcements video every week for like 5 years and are just now getting warning,” one person said on Twitter, “and all banning someone does is move them off the platform completely.”
YouTube didn’t comment on people’s frustrations when asked by Polygon, but pointed us to three tweets from the company’s team.
“You can absolutely create videos that promote or link to Twitch,” the company said. “However, as stated in our Community Guidelines, if the main/sole purpose of the content is to drive people off YouTube and onto another site, it will likely violate our spam policies. Example could be no audio/video/other info, just a link to another site.”
Some accounts have been reinstated by the company since conversation picked up on Twitter, and YouTube didn’t respond to questions about whether the strike process will change in light of creators frustration. Still, the experience has left a bad taste in many creators’ mouths.
“Guess that goes to show you where YouTube’s priorities are,” one person said. “Small [and] independent creators are not a priority; big corporations and networks are.”