YouTube Algorithm Is Taking Down Robot Combat Videos Citing Cruelty To Animals

Kevin Mwanza
Written by Kevin Mwanza
YouTube removed robot combat videos from its platform that its algorithm mistakenly flagged as animal fighting. Image: Via Giphy

YouTube’s automated system confused several robot combat videos with animal fighting and issued strikes against their creators, according to the platform’s users.

Robot combat is a competition in which two or more custom-built machines use different methods of destroying or disabling each other. The robots are generally remote-controlled and animals are usually not involved.

The fights have been around since 1994 and have become popular around the world through shows like BattleBots in the U.S., Robot Wars in the U.K and recently, King of Bots in China.

Robot combat confusion

“Today is a sad day. Robot builders across the world cried out in agony as YouTube’s algorithm falsely identified personal videos of robot sport as ‘animal cruelty’ and ‘cock fighting,’” wrote Jamison Go, graduate research assistant and PhD candidate at MIT and BattleBots contestant, in a public Facebook post.

A YouTube spokesperson said the “removals was an error”, according to Futurism.

“With the massive volume of videos on our site, sometimes we make the wrong call,” the spokesperson told Futurism.

“When it’s brought to our attention that a video has been removed mistakenly, we act quickly to reinstate it.”

Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 67: Jamarlin Martin

Jamarlin goes solo to discuss the NFL’s entertainment and “social justice” deal with Jay-Z. We look back at the Barclays gentrification issue in the documentary “A Genius Leaves The Hood: The Unauthorized Story of Jay-Z.”

The video platform has a history of taking down videos and even terminating entire channels, wrongfully claiming that they violated copyright.