YouTube parade battle goes on with accounts threatened with shutdown

Screenshot of marching band parade YouTube channel www.youtube.com/user/titan22nrg/
Screenshot of marching band parade YouTube channel www.youtube.com/user/titan22nrg/

The battle appears far from over between YouTube and a group of Northern Irish people who promote the marching band scene.

That is the assessment of one man who has told the News Letter that within hours of his YouTube account being re-activated on Monday, he is now in danger of having it disabled again – and fears this time it may be permanent.

The man called Neil, whose identity the News Letter is withholding, runs the page ‘On the March Videos’ (www.youtube.com/user/titan22nrg/) which for the last seven years has been uploading videos of loyalist bands on parade.

He has about 3,300 people who subscribe to his account, and in all his videos have been viewed almost 3,700,000 times.

It emerged at the weekend that his and about another nine similar accounts had been de-activated by YouTube.

His was re-activated on Monday night, but he has now told the News Letter: “It’s up and running, but I received two more strikes on Tuesday and so did a number of other uploaders.

“One more strike and I’m down again, and I don’t ever think I’ll get it back.”

He said the first strike was “a warning that you’ve uploaded something with content which they deem not suitable”.

The second strike means he cannot upload anything for two weeks, while a third strike would mean his account is offline.

He received a list of videos from YouTube which had been “flagged up” in connection with this.

“Talking to other YouTubers, basically it seems to be certain names of bands that are causing these flags,” he said.

Despite requests, YouTube has not given any precise explanation of what prompted all the accounts to be taken down, but did say that “we do not allow content that promotes proscribed terror organisations”.

The UK government maintains a list of 14 Northern Irish paramilitary organisations, or cover names used by such groups, which are proscribed in law – including some which are relatively obscure.

“A lot of these bands have absolutely no connection to any paramilitaries, but the names of the band and the names of some of the groups are very similar, or the same, and this is being flagged up,” said Neil.

He said some of the bands concerned had been formed long before any paramilitary groups started using such names.

The problem is such that he and fellow account-holders now wonder if some kind of computer software may be identifying these videos automatically.

However, there are also “ones that don’t make any sense” at all – including a video of north Down’s Robert Graham Memorial Flute Band which has now been the cause of a strike against another YouTube account, called Adiprod.

That band, named after its Orangeman founder, has directly told the News Letter it has nothing to do with any “bigoted, sectarian music”, much less paramilitaries, and happily plays at fleadh events.

At least one YouTube account – www.youtube.com/user/roughgrange/ – has not been reactivated at all since the story broke.