Atajurt Kazakh Human Rights, a Kazakh human rights organization dedicated to revealing the inner workings of Uighur “re-education camps” in China’s Xinjiang province, has had some of its videos taken down from the video sharing platform Some of its YouTube videos were taken down, and the channel was even blocked at one point. The organization suspects that pro-China groups used YouTube’s complaint mechanism to fabricate reasons to report them, leading to the blocking.
Atajulte often posts videos of families of the missing from Xinjiang testifying against Chinese authorities, and since 2017, nearly 11,000 videos on YouTube have attracted more than 120 million views in total. But the channel was blocked on June 15 after 12 videos were cited for violating its “cyberbullying and harassment” policy between April and June.
“Reuters quoted two sources as exclusively reporting the incident on June 25. According to the report, some videos were allowed to be unblocked after the organization’s channel administrator filed a complaint, but YouTube officials did not explain the reasons for continuing to block other videos. “Reuters asked YouTube, which said it had received numerous complaints about people in the videos showing IDs proving their missing relatives, in violation of YouTube’s policy prohibiting personally identifiable information in video content.
YouTube lifted the blocking of ATAJURT’s channel on the 18th, but requested that the identifying information in the film be mosaicked; the organization was worried that this would affect the film’s persuasiveness and was reluctant to cooperate, but feared that it would be blocked again, so it decided to move the film to Odysee, an audio-visual platform that uses blockchain technology, for backup. https://odysee.com/@ ATAJURT:8, which has already moved 975 videos.
Despite this, the organization says they continue to receive a barrage of automated messages from YouTube claiming that its videos are blocked for suspicion of promoting violent criminal organizations, with founder Serikzhan Bilash saying, “Every day there is a new reason why I don’t trust YouTube at all “. In response, YouTube said that messages about advocacy of violent criminal organizations are sent automatically and have nothing to do with the content of the creator, changing to non-public is to allow channel managers to modify.
YouTube has stepped up restrictions on online bullying, inaccurate messages and hate speech content in recent years, but Atajulte is concerned that pro-China groups denying Beijing’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang are using the platform’s complaint mechanism to report them in large numbers, prompting the platform’s automatic blocking mechanism to kick in. The group also offers videos circulating on WhatApp, Telegram and other social media outlets that explain how to report them on YouTube.
Last year, the organization’s official Facebook account was suddenly blocked for unknown reasons, and the video of the testimonies of those who fled Xinjiang disappeared. After repeated appeals from the group, Facebook responded that the group’s account or the activities carried out by the account did not comply with the platform’s community guidelines, and after another review, decided not to change the decision.
Odysee officials told Reuters that they welcome and support the Atajulte organization.