If your business is using a platform to share media (like YouTube, Vimeo etc.) you are most likely playing by their rules. No indecent or aggressive material, simply because you’re a decent corporation. So, no reason to worry about getting into trouble. Right? Wrong! Check out the next two examples of ‘algorithms gone wrong’ and see why you need to keep thinking carefully.

Oops, data gone wrong

Regionaal Archief Alkmaar, where they keep unique historical archives, saw their account taken down by YouTube. Decades of historical footage, used for educational purposes, gone. Why? Because they also had a collection of World War II footage of when the city of Alkmaar was liberated. Because YouTube’s algorithm recognized the World War II theme, the account was closed, calling them ‘hatemongers’ for promoting World War II footage. No discussion, no reply to their request for contact. Because the algorithm said so, without regard for the context of the footage. Whether the material will ever be retrieved, nobody knows.

Or how about the Notre Dame fire, where no foul play was at hand. Somehow YouTube’s algorithms picked it up as terrorism related and automatically placed a panel about 9/11’s terrorist attacks underneath footage of the Paris fire. What’s the risk in this? Viewers might put the two together and voila, the Notre Dame fire must have been a terrorist attack. Oops!

Don’t let a platform limit your business

What I am trying to say with these examples, is that when you upload media to an external platform, you have to think before you hit submit. Algorithms are a great asset to today’s media and marketing landscape, but they can also be a limiting factor. For starters, always make sure you keep a backup of your videos. Just in case. Better safe than sorry!

Do your research when it comes to several platforms and check if their conditions are in line with how you want to use the platform. And when you do upload your videos, try to make your metadata and tags as clear as possible and try to avoid terms that could be conceived as controversial, when taken out of context. Because if you’re in bad luck you’re stuck with no content and a bad reputation. And we don’t want that, now do we?

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