On Tuesday, content creator, YouTuber, and friend Jason from the Texas Gun Vault sent me a message. I have been following Jason’s content for a few years now, and over the last year, I’ve watched the success of and up until this morning, the demise of his channel. In January of 2022, Jason reported to me of the demonetization of his channel, back in December I covered a suspension he received, and then earlier this week he told me his entire channel was completely deleted.
From a notice from YouTube:
Hi Texas Gun Vault,
We have reviewed your content and found severe or repeated violations of our Community Guidelines. Because of this, we have removed your channel from YouTube.
Jason told me that they rejected his initial appeal and that, “11 years of work gone.”
“Hi Texas Gun Vault,”? Really? The Jersey in me wants to tell YouTube “Get the f*ck outta here.”
What I like about the Texas Gun Vault channel is that Jason is very pragmatic, down to Earth, and does not engage in hysterics nor flashy tannerite laden content. From everything he was able to gather, much like many other “GunTubers”, his deletion had to do with suppressors.
While I was gathering my thoughts on reporting about Jason’s situation, more leads started to pour in. Many of which wished to remain anonymous, as they did not want to jeopardize their future standings with YouTube.
One content creator, friend and colleague Braden Langley from the Langley Outdoors Academy channel and creator of the Second Press 2A news site, recently scrubbed his channel of over 300 videos in an act of self-censorship, so that his larger collection of work would still remain. Langley saw the importance of keeping his entire channel intact, even if that meant sacrificing some of his content. While Langley did not state that the material scrubbed had anything to do with suppressors or silencers, he none-the-less noted the trend that’s been occurring over the last few weeks.
One of the creators I spoke to that wished to remain anonymous told me not about a strike or suspension they received from YouTube, but rather about having one of their videos deleted by the service. They told me their channel has been one of the fastest growing ones out there, having reached over 100,000 subs in the first month of putting out content. The user has only been putting out content since around the summer and has around a quarter of a million followers. They told me in the last 30 days they had over 38 million views. I suspected that YouTube took it easy on this creator due their explosive popularity.
One of the big ironies that the anonymous user pointed out was that there’s content out there that could be considered a bit more offensive than say a video showing them screwing on a silencer to a firearm. They told me the video that was deleted did feature the act of affixing a silencer, and they clearly got caught up in this recent roundup. In stating their arguments to me, which really, they did not have to do, but none-the-less, they observed some other content that’s out there without issue on YouTube:
Essentially, they have created a new “rule” without telling anyone, and are applying it retroactively (In the legal world, were this a law, it would be considered an illegal ex post facto law expressly prohibited by the US Constitution… can’t apply new laws to prior conduct… unfortunately the Constitution doesn’t apply here).
We are clearly being targeted in a coordinated attack.
What is absolutely mind boggling is that you can post videos of people being murdered, actual gun violence, movies where silencers are attached. There are also videos where women play “match the dildo with the woman” that popped up on my newsfeed the other day.
Somehow screwing on a silencer is “harmful” content… but playing a song called Wet Ass Pussy is A-OK.
That brings us to this morning when colleague Stephen Gutowski over at The Reload broke his story covering the very same topic. Gutowski said in his piece that YouTube noted that the deletions were an error on their part.
The video hosting site said recent moderation efforts aimed at videos where sound suppressors are affixed to guns were a mistake. The takedowns and channel strikes had appeared to affect videos, whether attaching the suppressor was part of a guide or just incidental. The company said it is now in the process of restoring videos and channels that were wrongly flagged.
“Upon review, we determined the videos in question are not violative of our Community Guidelines and have reinstated them,” a YouTube spokesperson told The Reload. “When it’s brought to our attention that content has been mistakenly removed, we review it and take appropriate action, including reinstating and removing associated strikes.”
The reversal comes after channels with upwards of ten million followers run by suppressor manufacturers or professional content creators and those with a few dozen followers run by hobbyists had videos taken down and appeals denied. It is an example of another moderation controversy surrounding a tech giant and how it approaches gun content on its platform. It may spurn further distrust among gun owners looking to post or consume videos and could invite further scrutiny from already tech-skeptical Republicans who just took control of the House of Representatives.
Gutowski also noted that the channels he mentioned to YouTube during his questioning of them were all reinstated. Not only were the channels he mentioned reinstated, but I also checked in with Jason at the Texas Gun Vault, and he told me his channel was returned only minutes prior to me reaching out to him. He said that, “When I saw Mrgunsngear’s video last night, I reapplied for my appeal. I got my channel back this morning.”
Mrgunsngear’s video is very informative on some of the behind the scenes of fighting the strikes on his channel. Between the efforts of several content creators, and I’ll go and say that I’m sure Gutowski had a lot to do with having YouTube see the light, they have back peddled on many of the suspensions. As noted in Jason’s case over at Texas Gun Vault, all he had to do was re-apply for another appeal.
We’re dealing with a big tech that hates everything and anything guns and Second Amendment. Sure, we can’t attribute malice to that which is incompetence, however in many arena’s I’m sure we can say that YouTube is both malicious and ignorant. There’s no lack of coverage of how big tech treats people that do not philosophically align with their agenda and or ideals.
I think what’s more interesting is that while big tech shows zero love or appreciation for firearm related content, they sure do make some good money off of it. Is it time for big tech to tell their overlords “enough is enough!”? Let capitalism shine the way it should? It really would be more profitable for everyone if they just accepted the financial gains by leaving GunTubers alone.
While we round the corner of a new month of a new year with a marmot telling us we have six more weeks of winter left, I’m not too optimistic that YouTube just changed their ways because they found the “error”. I certainly could be wrong on this and quite honestly hope I am. Only time will tell. In any and every event, we’ll continue to track the situations as they unfold and will be reporting back on any new developments.
Author’s note: Since the writing and scheduling of this article, Jason from Texas Gun Vault has got back in touch with me and said that his channel has been deleted again. Hoping this is some sort of error with the algorithms, Jason has appealed yet again, and we’re hopeful his channel will be reinstated again shortly. We’ll be reporting back with any updates as they arise.