Is This YouTube Video Really Unsuitable for Viewers Under 18?

Michael Brown
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University and has served as a professor at a number of seminaries. He is the author of 25 books and hosts the nationally syndicated, daily talk radio show, the Line of Fire.

There's never a dull moment in our dealings with YouTube. In the latest twist, our video commentary on "What God Is Saying through the Vegas Massacre" has been age-restricted, deemed not suitable for viewers under 18. Really?

I can almost guarantee that there are millions of videos on YouTube that are not age-restricted that are far more graphic than this video. Why did ours get singled out?

When we appealed YouTube's decision, they sent this reply: "Thank you for submitting your video appeal to YouTube. After further review, we've determined that while your video does not violate our Community Guidelines, it may not be appropriate for a general audience. We have therefore age-restricted your video."

Can anyone say "completely arbitrary"?

If you have any question about my perspective, take a few minutes and watch the video for yourself. It starts with footage from the massacre, but there's no blood and gore and no profanity. You hear the gun shots, you hear people screaming, and you see them scrambling. That's it.

As for my commentary, the message is simple. We need the Lord! America cannot be great if America is not good, and we cannot be good without God. We're sick and hurting, and He's ready to heal and help. Why, then, should this be age-restricted?

How many videos with inappropriate lyrics or sensual images or profanity or violence are unrestricted on YouTube but ours is restricted?

Back in August, the vast majority of our 900+ videos were demonetized as "not suitable for all advertisers."

Our whole channel had been flagged, and to this day, almost without exception, the moment we post a video, before anyone has viewed it, it is flagged as "not suitable for all advertisers." This means that we have to request a manual review for each video and hope for the best.

Unfortunately, for the first few weeks, almost all our videos dealing with controversial subjects (including abortion, homosexuality, and Islam) were deemed unsuitable for advertising after review.

And then something odd happened. We started to notice that many of our flagged videos were unflagged, without explanation or notice. Suddenly they were no longer "unsuitable."

Then, about two weeks ago, some of our videos addressing controversial videos started to get approved after review, again, without any explanation. So, one week, a controversial video failed the review process; the next week, a similar video passed the review process.

This was obviously a step in the right direction, but based on what criteria? Is YouTube making a course correction? Are they addressing some serious imbalances? And are they using any objective criteria? If so, what is it?

Many have asked me to keep them posted on YouTube's dealings with our videos, which I'm happy to do. But no sooner did I plan to post a positive update than our Vegas video was age-restricted.

What's coming next? Stay tuned for the latest, breaking news.

For now, let's encourage YouTube when they do right and hold their feet to the fire when they do wrong.

And let me know your thoughts on our video. Is it inappropriate for viewers under 18?

Dr. Michael Brown ( is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. His latest book is Saving a Sick America: A Prescription for Moral and Cultural Transformation. Connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.

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