Removals of Syrian human rights content: July 2019

Amount of content preserved, made unavailable and restored

To date, Syrian Archive has preserved and processed 1,515,226 videos from YouTube, an increase of 24,225 videos since June 2019. Unfortunately, despite many documenting human rights violations, many of these videos have been made unavailable for a variety of reasons. After Syrian Archive raised this issue with YouTube, over 200,000 videos were restored and made publicly viewable since July 2017.

Yet 210,640 videos remain unavailable as of July 2019. Some of these videos include documentation of chemical attacks, attacks on hospitals and medical facilities, or destruction of civilian infrastructure. These 210,640 videos are securely preserved by Syrian Archive and available upon request.

This demonstrates that between June and July 2019, 818 videos that Syrian Archive has in its collection are once again publicly available.

Syrian Archive preserves content from 3,361 YouTube channels on a daily basis, an increase of 8 channels since June 2019. Of these, 232 YouTube channels have been made unavailable as of July 2019 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 June and July 2019, this demonstrates that 15 channels that Syrian Archive includes in its preservation activities have been reinstated by YouTube. While the problem of platforms inadvertently removing from public view documentation of human rights violations is ongoing and has not ended, this demonstrates YouTube is working to address this issue.

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.

Contact: info@syrianarchive.org