The action comes after the American Food and Drug Administration told the social media platform that it wanted it to crack down on advertising Juul and other vape products to children. Thus far, nobody has provided evidence that companies are targeting children at all.
Vaping360’s Jim McDonald wrote on Twitter: “This means YouTube -- an example of disruptive innovation that changed the way we consume entertainment -- is trying to block another disruptive innovation that's helping millions quit smoking.”
Ruby Roo, a content provider, said: “YouTube is handing out strikes left and right for JUUL vape reviews. Today I had to delete 3 videos, one of which was my most viewed video ever. To see my hard work being thrown out makes me sick.”
“Vape channels are being targeted by YouTube,” she continued. “All I want to do is help people not to smoke, and to put food on my table. Why does it have to be this way? I’m angry, frustrated, and feeling defeated today.”
“We’re not violating guidelines or terms of service. These channels are getting strikes for no reason! We’re adults giving tech reviews for vapour products, trying to help people get off cigarettes, and YouTube is censoring us!”
A single strike is the precursor to more serious action. A second strike within a three-month period means channel owners can’t post new content to YouTube for two weeks. Three Community Guidelines strikes within a three-month period result in the account being terminated.
The news has prompted a shift as content providers open up Vimeo accounts as backup or second channels just in case the attacks broaden out. What is clear is that the ramifications of losing a YouTube channel could be quite serious.
Tia from the Tia Vapes channel said: “I just got a strike on my channel for a video that is supposedly containing violence - but it’s for a vape! WTF YouTube? I’m freaking out.”
“My plate is so full some days I can barely carry it. Between the stresses we are about to face with our son’s open heart surgeries, being in the middle of building a house and now am potentially losing my YouTube channel (which for years has been my only source, and a good one at that, of income).”
Tia’s son is undergoing heart surgery in Seattle and will require lots of care and support at home. YouTube’s actions have made her very worried.
“Like, literally, I could lose all three. If I lose my channel there’s no way we can afford our new house - so we lose the house and the potential of losing our son is high. I feel like I’ve been under water and can’t breathe since we found out the diagnosis. When it rains it pours.”
She has made her one and only allowable appeal and YouTube promptly ruled against her.