Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

YouTube algorithm mistakes fighting robot videos for animal cruelty

YouTube has taken aim at videos of fighting robots – removing a bunch of clips featuring clashing metal beasts − but it was all a mistake. 

YouTube took down the videos of battling robots, as it mistakenly identified them as clips portraying animal cruelty. You can sort of understand why an algorithm could make this error – however, the gaffe is fairly obvious.

Related: Back to School: The Ultimate Gadget Guide for Parents and Kids

According to The Verge, the takedowns received attention when a former BattleBots (basically the US’ version of Robot Wars) competitor posted YouTube’s decision to remove some of his content to Facebook.

Jamison Go had nine of his videos taken down, and one of YouTube’s messages regarding its decision said:

“Upon review, we’ve determined that it violates our guidelines and we’ve removed it from YouTube … Content that displays the deliberate infliction of animal suffering or the forcing of animals is not allowed on YouTube. Examples include, but are not limited to, dog fighting and cock fighting.”

Other YouTube channels with videos showing robot showdowns also reported that they were affected.

YouTube has now confirmed that the videos were removed in error and that it has no policies prohibiting videos of fighting robots. The robo-rasslin’ videos are now back up for your viewing pleasure.

YouTube taking down fighting robot videos when it meant to remove animal cruelty videos looks like quite a silly mistake. However, the error does highlight the ongoing difficulties YouTube has in moderating a content platform with a near unmanageable breadth of content.

It also made us think of this weirdly heartbreaking clip (from 0:46):

Related: Best robot vacuum cleaners

While this episode may have been an accident, the company is making the completely intentional move of getting rid of its Messages service. On September 18, YouTube will end its Messages service for good. A service that, we imagine, not many people actually know about.

In more positive news for the Google-owned company, YouTube recently revealed 1080p downloads are finally coming to Premium. Previously, YouTube Premium subscribers were limited to 720p for offline downloads.

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2003, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.