Removals of Syrian human rights content: May 2019

Amount of content preserved, made unavailable and restored

To date, Syrian Archive has preserved and processed 1.478.810 videos from YouTube, an increase of 21.345 videos since April 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 206.077 videos remain unavailable as of May 2019. Some of these videos include documentation of chemical attacks, attacks on hospitals and medical facilities, or destruction of civilian infrastructure. These 206.077 are securely preserved by Syrian Archive and available upon request.

This demonstrates an increase of 16.077 videos on YouTube being made unavailable between April and May 2019 that Syrian Archive has in its collection.

Syrian Archive preserves content from 3.350 YouTube channels on a daily basis. Of this, 234 YouTube channels have been made unavailable as of May 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 April and May 2019, an additional 6 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.

Contact: info@syrianarchive.org