Removals of Syrian human rights content: September 2019

Amount of content preserved, made unavailable and restored

To date, Syrian Archive has preserved and processed 1,548,903 videos from YouTube, an increase of 33,676 videos since July 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 179,878 videos remain unavailable as of September 2019. Some of these videos include documentation of chemical attacks, attacks on hospitals and medical facilities, or destruction of civilian infrastructure. These 179,878 videos are securely preserved by Syrian Archive and available upon request.

This demonstrates that between July and September 2019, 30,762 videos that Syrian Archive has in its collection are once again publicly available.

Syrian Archive preserves content from 3,391 YouTube channels on a daily basis, an increase of 30 channels since July 2019. Of these, 247 YouTube channels have been made unavailable as of September 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 July and September 2019, this demonstrates that 15 channels that Syrian Archive includes in its preservation activities have been made unavailable by YouTube.

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.