Setting aside extremely serious misconduct – you can guess the type of content we’re thinking of here – YouTube doesn’t usually ban its users outright, without prior warning. Typically, the platform operates on a three-strikes policy: you get two warnings for breach of guidelines, then you’re out. Each of these warnings expires after three months, so in all honesty, you’d really have to try to get banned.
And if you do run afoul of YouTube’s licencing or content guidelines – or, to be fair, fall victim to one of the many bugs in YouTube’s system – the platform won’t care how many followers you have. Here are five of the most famous YouTube bans of all time!
1. Toy Freaks
Let’s get this one out of the way. If you’re keeping up with social media news, you may remember the controversy surrounding this channel a couple of years ago.
Toy Freaks was run by YouTube user Chism and featured videos of himself and his two young daughters. The channel was famously banned by YouTube, with all content permanently removed, for the disturbing content involving – and aimed at – young children.
We’ll spare you the details, but suffice to say that a number of the videos involved showing the girls in distress, crying and screaming – often due to some‘prank’ played on them by the dad. Chism would also get his daughters to pretend to be babies – complete with wetting themselves.
Whether Chism was producing these videos with the intention of them being disturbing, or whether he simply meant to be amusing – that’s debatable and ultimately immaterial. At the end of the day, his content was deemed disturbing at the very least, child abuse at most.
The worst part? At the point of being banned, Toy Freaks had over 8.5 million subscribers.
2. Alex Jones
Ahh, Alex Jones. One of the biggest (and craziest, and that’s saying something) conspiracy theorists out there. In 2018, Jones was banned from YouTube and all of his other channels, including Facebook, Apple, and Spotify.
Why? While some of Jones’ conspiracy theories are downright laughable (did you know the government controls the weather and Hillary Clinton is a hell-born demon?), others were violently racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, transphobic, and generally despicable in a multitude of other ways.
That didn’t stop 2.4 million people from subscribing to his channel prior to the ban, though.
Wait, what? WatchMojo got banned? What on earth did they do?!
Nothing out of the ordinary, really. In 2013, WatchMojo was taken down for a few days after a copyright infringement debacle. This is unsurprising, given the amount of copyrighted video content the channel incorporates into their videos – it’s what they do, pretty much. Luckily, the issue was resolved and WatchMojo was soon back online. Today, the channel has an impressive 22 million subscribers.
WatchMojo is just one among a whole list of channels that were banned by mistake. Stampylonghead, the Minecraft channel aimed at kids with 9 million subscribers, is one example.
Daniel Keem’s YouTube channel and show Drama Alert has over 5.5 million subscribers – so you could say he’s doing pretty well. Except that technically, he doesn’t claim ownership of the channel.
Why’s that, you may be wondering. Well, it would appear that Keem’s two previous channels had both been terminated by YouTube, meaning that he shouldn’t be able to continue operating on the platform. Hence, while he posts videos on the same channel and is in all of them, by not claiming ownership of the channel he’s successfully avoiding a lifetime ban.
Another successful YouTuber using the same tactic is Dylan McEvoy, or Durv. His first channel was fairly popular, with almost 1.5 million subscribers and a total of 125 million views. He also quickly became infamously prone to producing click-bait and fake give-aways to rack up said views.
After being banned – for violent content, allegedly, though reportedly there was none in his videos – he took over his brother’s channel and continued posting his usual content, all while claiming he’s using the channel as a guest to avoid another ban.