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My YouTube channel ATP Geopolitics is a calm, measured, and wide-ranging look at the Ukraine war from micro- to macro-level. But as its presenter and curator of sources, I am angry. Very angry indeed.

YouTubing is a job for me. Indeed, in my post-teaching life, where multiple sclerosis has restricted me to working from home, YouTubing has become my main source of income. I recently had to split my original A Tippling Philosopher channel and create a new ATP Geopolitics one to focus almost entirely on the Ukraine War. I now do three videos a day: one to update news over the previous 24 hours (military aid announced, political events, major military events), a second to update viewers of movements on the frontline (looking at maps and sources), and a third “EXTRA” video to discuss things in more depth (often adding philosophy and psychology).

It’s a lot of work, 7 days a week, but I love it.

This morning, YouTube put a 7-day suspension on me. This is no different to being suspended from your job for 7 days without pay. The problem here is that they do not tell you exactly why. This is perhaps the most anger-inducing element of this whole malarkey. Back in December, I received my first warning for “misinformation” for one of my news videos.

Russia may be suffering on the battlefield, but they have had years of success in what is known as 5th generation warfare

Now, bearing in mind that I am a philosopher who has written extensively on misinformation and disinformation and how much I detest them, this hurt. The video was my usual 20-minute update of things that had happened. I was allowed to review the video and appeal. I watched it back (some weeks after it was released) a number of times and couldn’t for the life of me work out what the disinformation element was. And YouTube wouldn’t tell me.

My appeal failed.

I then contacted the chat help to vent my disappointment. They said they could not possibly overturn the decision and couldn’t let me know what claim or part of the video was contentious. I was amazed that they were punishing me for something and refusing to tell me what exactly it was they were punishing me for! I told them in no uncertain terms that this wasn’t in any way useful: I couldn’t use this to influence my future YouTube content creation because they wouldn’t tell me what I had done wrong other than “misinformation.”

A warning like this was worrying, but not the end of the world.

Today, I was given a strike: a week’s suspension from posting, uploading, or live streaming. For the same thing—misinformation. And, yet again, I had no idea what for. I have watched the video back several times and can’t work out where in the 25 minutes I had gone wrong.

I appealed. Less than 10 minutes later (not enough time for someone to watch the video), my appeal was rejected.

I’ve been suspended from work.

It’s funny how YouTube channels can get advertising revenue for claiming the Earth is flat, for making all sorts of insane and erroneous claims about the world. Bad actors in the Ukraine War information space like Scott Ritter, Duran, and Mercouris are given a free rein. And someone like me, throwing in caveats here, there and everywhere? Getting banned takes the biscuit. As one follower complained on Twitter:



@TeamYouTube and

@YouTubeCreators. This is absolutely outrageous. This person is the epitome of the enquiring philosopher. The time he spends on caveats easily amounts to 20% of his content. The accusation that he spreads misinformation is absolutely false.

How has this happened? My guess is that, as my channel has hit a growing number of subscribers and viewers (about 8,000 subscribers, and over 25,000 hits per day—not Earth-shattering, but decent enough), it has attracted pro-Russian actors and bots. This is definitely reflected in the number of trollish comments it now gets. But these agitators work in other ways. My guess is that they report en masse on a particular technical point and YouTube follow their guidelines to the T, predominantly with AI algorithms. Though that is being overly generous.

Russia may be suffering on the battlefield, but they have had years of success in what is known as 5th generation warfare—fighting in the information space over control of the narrative, and meddling in elections. Getting a minor YouTube channel shut down is small fry, and helps to affect the narrative.

The outpouring of support in a number of places has been truly heartwarming, and I hope the many complaints to YouTube will have at least some effect (though I am not overly hopeful). For the time being, I am tiptoeing my way through content creation at my original channel, but in a week’s time, I’ll be back. That said, it will be with more caveats than you can poke a hairy stick at, with a lot more careful curation. And all the while, any other Tom, Dick, and Harry can make insane claims about the universe, or politics in another context.

I wonder, do they hold huge mainstream media to the same levels as they do me (someone who works bloody hard to make sure they are being fair and accurate)?

Somehow, I doubt it.

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Jonathan MS Pearce

A TIPPLING PHILOSOPHER Jonathan MS Pearce is a philosopher, author, columnist, and public speaker with an interest in writing about almost anything, from skepticism to science, politics, and morality,...