Social Media Animal Cruelty Coalition (SMACC)
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Ms Susan Wojcicki
Chief Executive Officer
Google LLC, DBA YouTube
901 Cherry Avenue
San Bruno CA 94066
< enter date >
Re: YouTube’s continued allowance of animal cruelty videos
Dear Ms Wojcicki,
On behalf of _______, we ask that you implement a robust mechanism for reporting and removing animal abuse content uploaded to your site, specifically content that glorifies animal abuse for entertainment purposes. We’d specifically like to bring your attention to one particular channel and ask you to remove it (and others like it) permanently, in accordance with your stated policy.
The YouTube channel entitled “Captive Baby Monkeys” illustrates perfectly the sort of violence and abuse we refer to. Because it is impossible to determine for certain in which country the videos in this channel originated, it is impossible to know whether each film violates local legislation. Refusing to allow illegal content is important, but it is just as important to refuse any cruelty or abuse, whether legal in the place it was filmed or not.
The content of “Captive Baby Monkeys” ranges from the unintentionally cruel to the deliberately cruel (a child taunting a frightened baby monkey) and on to the fully violent (an image of a man in the process of slitting a pigtailed macaque’s throat; a video of a dog killing a monkey). Other users encourage more cruelty with comments like “BEAT IT ON THE HEAD” and “i want to try it so bad” [sic]. We are sure you will agree that these are unacceptable displays of deliberate animal cruelty and doubt that you intend to provide a platform for people who enjoy watching the infliction of such abuse. We have seen that some even intentionally harm animals specifically in order to create shocking content, because channels like the one discussed above have demonstrated that such content can be monetized.
YouTube’s policy states that certain types of animal content are not allowed on YouTube, including “non-educational, documentary, scientific, or artistic content that shows unnecessary suffering”. The channel discussed above is full of such ostensibly prohibited content. There appears to be no mechanism available for reporting such a channel as a whole for animal abuse: each option we tried led to a dead end. The channel has existed since 2012, having had over a million views.
We understand that it is possible to report each video individually, but this is not straightforward, as the “animal abuse” option is difficult to find, layered beneath “violent or repulsive content.” Furthermore, we know that videos from this channel, and others that violate your policy, have been reported by multiple users. However, despite appearing to violate your stated policy on content depicting animal abuse, they have simply been flagged as “inappropriate for some viewers” and have remained in place.
YouTube’s stated mission is to “give everyone a voice and show them the world”. This is an admirable goal. But most would agree that refusing to provide a platform where one can glorify, and even profit from, the senseless abuse of animals is equally as admirable and just as important. Multiple studies have shown the link between cruelty to animals and future cruelty to humans. YouTube has a definite role in shaping today’s world. We implore you to take responsibility for what this world looks like.
We respectfully request that YouTube removes the channel discussed above, and others like it, that contain prohibited animal abuse content.
Further, we ask that you implement a no-tolerance policy for content that violates your animal cruelty policy - and enforce it vigilantly. We ask that you employ a vigorous mechanism for identifying such content and an appropriate, easy-to-use reporting tool. When abuse or cruelty has been identified, we ask that it is promptly removed.
Pleae take responsibility in ensuring that the world you want us all to see is not a world in which animal abuse is a form of entertainment.