Removals of Syrian human rights content: February to April 2020
Amount of content preserved, made unavailable and restored
To date, Syrian Archive has preserved and processed 1,726,205 videos from YouTube. Many of these have been made unavailable for a variety of reasons. After Syrian Archive raised this issue with YouTube, over 650,000 videos were restored and made publicly viewable since July 2017.
Yet roughly 343,339 videos remain unavailable as of April 2020. Some of these videos include documentation of chemical attacks, attacks on hospitals and medical facilities, or destruction of civilian infrastructure. These 343,339 are securely preserved by Syrian Archive and available upon request.
Syrian Archive preserves content from 3,488 YouTube channels on a daily basis. Of this, 299 YouTube channels have been made unavailable as of April 2020 but are preserved in Syrian Archive infrastructure. Some of these channels are long-standing media houses that have been documenting human rights violations in Syria since 2011.
Between January 2020 and April 2020, 21 channels that Syrian Archive includes in its preservation activities have been made unavailable. This demonstrates that the problem of platforms inadvertently removing from public view documentation of human rights violations is ongoing and has not ended.
Social media platforms have become accidental archives, but takedowns have proven they are no place for long-term, safe storage of materials depicting human rights violations. Alternate strategies must be used to archive this material, and Syrian Archive seeks to fill this gap.
Get in touch if you or your media organisation has been affected by content takedowns on YouTube or other social media platforms or need assistance in securely archiving documentation materials.