Game From Scratch reports a harrowing experience — an anonymous threat to pay bitcoin or have false claims made about their game dev tutorials to YouTube — and a horrifying one to go with it: YouTube's automatic cooperation with the fraudster, total lack of human recourse, and loss of access to his channel after refusing to pay off the scammer.
Please RT, this is broken!
Unfortunately GameFromScratch lost the ability to post to @YouTube because their systems can't defeat a script kiddy attack. Warned them after I was blackmailed, and now awaiting the long manual appeal process while locked out. Really @YTCreators? pic.twitter.com/j1hdE1tUYi
— Game From Scratch (@gamefromscratch) May 26, 2020
Each time it was taken down, I appealed and it would be restored. After I didn't pay the $50 in bitcoin, I started getting Circumvention of Technology notices for 3 of my videos. That ultimately resulted in a community strike and loss of access to my channel for a week (or until appealed). Thankfully those three takedowns were reversed in about 2 hours and channel privileges were restored.
Today I was just waiting for YouTube to restore my 2 year old Animate CC video… then to my shock, it was reviewed and found to be in violation!
The scam isn't complex or daring. You can do it by following a sheet of simple, foolproof instructions. It's barely more complex than demanding money from a YouTuber, filing complaints if they don't pay up, and cackling as YouTube automatically takes down the YouTuber's videos or even suspends their account access. The options for the scammer go way beyond ContentID. The device in this case was a Circumvention of Technology policy.
Quietly paying off fraudsters seems to be a fact of life now for successful YouTubers. I bet some of the top ones are getting absolutely hosed.