Youtube Safety Mode Censorship: Latest Battleground in the War on Consciousness

YouTube was once a bastion of free speech, an open venue where alternative information could circulate and wake up millions worldwide. Now it’s increasingly a place where truth is suppressed, as YouTube’s 6 billion+ hours of content is ‘soft censored’ on the sly by its mysterious ‘safety mode’. Keep reading if you prefer watching liberating information to mindless entertainment.

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It seems that Youtube doesn’t care about your awakening.

With so many hours of freely available information to watch, you might think that Youtube is a great platform to spread and defend the truth. But increasingly we are seeing restrictions on the types of videos that YouTube welcomes, even when they don’t breach Youtube’s published community guidelines.

This is what you'll see if you try to access a restricted video in Safety Mode.

This is what you’ll see if you try to access a restricted video in Safety Mode.

These restrictions are a new kind of ‘soft censorship‘, where videos are hidden from some users but not removed. This suppression is enforced by a mechanism known as Safety Mode. It was introduced to Youtube in 2010, and like many other recent forms of censorship it’s justified as a means to protect children from “inappropriate” content.

As stated by Google (who own Youtube):

While it’s not 100 percent accurate, we use community flagging, age-restrictions, and other signals to identify and filter out inappropriate content.

If you have ever used Youtube, you would probably have come across a video you’d rather not have seen, or perhaps abusive tirades in the comments. In spite of Youtube having community guidelines, people generally just seem to upload and say whatever they want, even in bad taste.

In light of the truly objectionable content that can appear there, Youtube’s Safety Mode might sound like a good thing, until you look deeper and realise that Youtube is blocking completely innocent and desperately needed videos  the type that uncover what’s really going on in the world and promote self improvement  while allowing terrible videos like real decapitations to continue unhindered.

And in some cases you might just find that safety mode is forced on your computer with no way of turning it off.

Youtube’s Not So Clean Censorship Record

In Youtube’s Community Guidelines they state:

We encourage free speech and defend everyone’s right to express unpopular points of view.

Unfortunately history shows otherwise. In 2007  the year after Google bought Youtube for $1.65 billion  Google shareholders were asked to vote on an anti-censorship proposal. But the CEO and founders of Google encouraged shareholders to vote against it, despite having the power to personally veto the motion, as they owned approximately 66% percent of Google’s shares between them.

The text of the proposal, as shown on Wikipedia, stated that:

  • Data that can identify individual users should not be hosted in Internet-restricting countries, where political speech can be treated as a crime by the legal system.
  • The company will not engage in pro-active censorship.
  • The company will use all legal means to resist demands for censorship. The company will only comply with such demands if required to do so through legally binding procedures.
  • Users will be clearly informed when the company has acceded to legally binding government requests to filter or otherwise censor content that the user is trying to access.
  • Users should be informed about the company’s data retention practices, and the ways in which their data is shared with third parties.
  • The company will document all cases where legally binding censorship requests have been complied with, and that information will be publicly available.

Sounds awesome doesn’t it? But given the proposal was not passed, can we assume that the opposite is occurring?

Since then, there have been many instances of Google / Youtube censorship, including censorship of activists and journalists in the global awakening and truth movement. In fact the Electronic Frontier Foundation read Youtube’s terms and conditions as stating that they reserve the right to remove or block any content they choose for any reason whatsoever.

Mark Dice's hugely popular youtube channel was deleted in March despite him not having violated Youtube's community guidelines Source

Mark Dice’s hugely popular Youtube channel was deleted in March despite him not having violated Youtube’s community guidelines Source

Recently the activist Mark Dice got a firsthand experience of Youtube censorship. Mark is famous for his (often sarcastic but free from profanity and promotion of violence) Illuminati exposes and man-on-the-street videos showing just how unaware of critical issues many members of the American public are (apologies if you’re a socially aware American). His channel had over 800 videos, 55 million views and 265,000 subscribers before it was shut down by Youtube for supposed “severe violations” of the community guidelines. His channel was later reinstated after there was an uproar and outpouring of support from others in the alternative truth movement.

He’s not the only activist or citizen journalist to experience censorship. In this interview by truth activists Dahboo7 and FreeRadioRevolution (first 25 minutes most relevant) they talk about experiences where their videos have been targeted in organised mass flagging, down-voting and comment spam to get their comment sections shut down and videos removed.

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This is the message you got if trying to watch Prison Planet’s Family Guy / Boston Marathon bombing expose

Alex Jones’ Prison Planet Youtube channel has also been censored in videos exposing underlying agendas in society.

YouTube deleted the video claiming it contained, ‘spam,’ ‘scams’ or ‘commercially deceptive content,’ when it contained none of these things. YouTube has also placed a strike against the host channel and threatened to delete it. Source

Why does Youtube censor critics who follow all the rules?

A New Kind of “Soft Censorship”

Soft censorship” is a phrase usually used to refer to indirect governmental censorship that influences news coverage through financial pressure, rewarding journalists and media outlets seen as friendly. This is a practise that often goes unnoticed as it is not usually obvious to the public.

A search for the words "astral projection". "Some results have been removed because Safety Mode is enabled" - but which ones?

A search for the words “astral projection”. “Some results have been removed because Safety Mode is enabled” – but which ones?

Youtube’s Safety Mode represents a new kind of “soft censorship”; one where videos can be blocked from many people while not removing the videos from the site completely.

In some ways censorship via Safety Mode is worse than having your video or channel deleted. If your videos are taken down and you get a strike against the community or copyright guidelines, you are notified of the reason for the ban and given the opportunity to counterclaim if you feel the strike is unjust. Many people have had their videos reinstated through this process.

However if your video is deemed “objectionable” and restricted in Safety Mode, there is no oversight, no notification and no means to challenge the restriction if you feel your video has been inappropriately targeted. While deleted videos will appear with a message in their place stating why the video has been removed, if you have Safety Mode on, videos will simply disappear from your search results or the channels you want to view and the only way you’ll find out that Safety Mode is blocking a video is if you try and access it via Google search results.

Crowd Sourced Suppression

So how do videos become restricted?

Google states that:

Users upload over 72 hours of video to YouTube every minute. With so much content on the site, it would be impossible to review it all. That’s why we rely on YouTube community members to flag content that they find inappropriate. [emphasis added] Source

and

“Safety Mode gives users the option to choose not to see mature content that they may find offensive, even though it’s not against our Community Guidelines. When you opt in to Safety Mode mode, videos with mature content or that have been age restricted will not show up in video search, related videos, playlists, shows and movies. While no filter is 100% accurate, we use community flagging, hide objectionable comments and porn image detection to identify and hide inappropriate content. Safety Mode on YouTube does not remove content from the site but rather keeps it off the page for users who opt in.” Source

But who is doing the flagging? What is their agenda? How are flagged videos reviewed if there have been instances of censorship for reasons having nothing to do with video content? Who gets to say what’s objectionable content and what’s “safe” for Safety Mode users to view?

An article from the Wall Street Journal shows that there may be many forces at play in the censorship of Youtube videos. Recently Google gave roughly 200 people and organisations ‘trusted flagger’ status.

A person familiar with the program said the vast majority of the 200 participants in the super flagger program are individuals who spend a lot of time flagging videos that may violate YouTube’s community guidelines. Fewer than 10 participants are government agencies or non-governmental organizations such as anti-hate and child-safety groups, the person added.

These super flaggers are given the ability to flag up to 20 videos at a time and 90% of the videos they flag are either deleted or restricted  a much higher percentage than in the general population of Youtube users.

It seems that what we are seeing is essentially crowd sourced censorship. Youtube seem to have opened the door to abuse through the false flagging of videos, having created an easy method that could be used by anyone with an agenda against awakening consciousness (including government and non-government organisations) to attack messages that disagree with their world view.

As discussed in the Dahboo7 / FreeRadioRevolution interview, false flagging and trolling attacks are rampant against alternative truth. Trolls have even admitted that they have been acting under instruction when trying to suppress videos.

This is particularly concerning as it stops minors from accessing the truth at an early age. By the time they’re old enough to escape Safety Mode (if they can), will their indoctrination already be so ingrained that they write off anything that challenges the status quo?

What kind of things are being blocked?

I was wondering what Youtube considers inappropriate material for minors and how that relates to what’s actually being blocked.

On their page about age-restricted content Google says:

Some videos don’t violate our policies, but may not be appropriate for all audiences. In these cases, minors or logged out users may not be able to view the content.

When evaluating whether content is appropriate for all ages, here are some of the things we consider:

  • Vulgar language
  • Violence and disturbing imagery
  • Nudity and sexually suggestive content
  • Portrayal of harmful or dangerous activities
Categories in Youtube's policy centre

Categories in Youtube’s policy centre

Recently I was told that an interview I did for the Total View Show about my article ‘How Fear is Used to Turn You Against Spirituality‘ had been age-restricted. I knew it contained none of the inappropriate content mentioned above, so I headed over to the policy centre to learn more and checked out what a video could be flagged for.

The categories contain things like:

  • Sexual content
  • Violent or repulsive content
  • Hateful or abusive content – content that promotes hatred against protected groups, abuses vulnerable individuals or encourages cyberbullying
  • Harmful dangerous acts – Content that includes acts that may result in physical harm
  • Child abuse
  • Spam or misleading
  • Infringes my rights
  • Captions report (CVAA)

Still not understanding why the video had been restricted, I decided to check out some other popular alternative truth and spirituality Youtube channels to see what else might be hidden.

Below is what I found, in no particular order. If you’d like to see a graphical representation of this research, it’s here. (I couldn’t include it in the article as the image is too large.)

To test it out for yourself, Safety Mode can be turned on and off at the bottom of your browser. I have to select and save the option two or three times and refresh the page before the settings will actually change.

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Many of these channels have the majority of their videos hidden when in Safety Mode. Censored subjects include among many other things:

And last but not least investigative journalist Luke Rudkowski of We Are Change, whose channel has hundreds of videos and exposes Bilderberg and many agendas in society. This content is apparently so objectionable that Youtube is censoring all of it.

What’s the Big Deal? Just Turn Safety Mode Off

If only it were that simple, but unfortunately it’s not! All you have to do is Google “youtube stuck in safety mode”, or “can’t turn safety mode off youtube” to see the number of people struggling with this issue.

Safety Mode is enabled by the browser and can be locked to ‘on’ by a user when logged in. It stays in the browser memory due to a cookie being downloaded to your computer. If that cookie becomes corrupted Safety Mode can get stuck on.

If you are running web filtering software like Bluecoat’s K9 or Microsoft Windows 8’s in-built “Family Safety” filter, these programs can force Youtube to stay in Safety Mode no matter what you do. Bluecoat was recently exposed on this site for its discriminatory blocking of alternative beliefs.

If you are using a computer on a public network, say in a library, at a school or a  university, then the network administrator can force Safety Mode to stay on.

A Google employee has stated that entire countries can force the Safety Mode on at the network level.

Is there anything we can do?

If you find yourself stuck in Safety Mode, here are some things you can try to give yourself the freedom to choose which videos you watch rather than having your options restricted:

  • Try deleting all the cookies on your computer. If the Safety Mode cookie has become corrupted it may be locking you in safe mode. Search for “delete cookies (+ browser name)” in your favourite search engine for instructions.
  • Safety mode is browser specific, so try a different browser. If that doesn’t work, try the anonymous browsing function available in many browsers.
  • Remove or disable any filtering programs that may be forcing Safety Mode on.
  • If Safety Mode is not being forced on by any programs, try turning it off in secure mode by adding an “s” to the URL directly after “http”.
  • Use a VPN. You may need to try more than one IP if you find the IP you choose is still forcing Safety Mode on.
  • Try viewing your channel of interest through a mobile browser which may still have a safety option but you may have more control over it.

Make sure you do this ethically of course. Don’t try to breach work policies on Youtube usage for instance which might get you fired.

And be sure to keep in mind that when you’re looking at Youtube, what you’re seeing in Safety Mode is nowhere near the full extent of information available to you.

Don’t settle for mindless entertainment in place of the truth. If you do, then the corporations and the powers behind them have already won the war on consciousness. They may not want you to wake up but we do!

If you’ve noticed any other ways alternative information is being censored please let everyone know in the comments. 

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All screenshots copyright Youtube, used under Fair Dealing

About David G

David has a deep interest in spiritual development, but has discovered there are many forces in the world working to keep people asleep. His recent interest has been researching the psychological tactics and techniques used to limit people's spiritual potential, writing about his discoveries here at The Conscious Reporter.

24 comments

  1. I made a comment on how in britain when the war of independence was going on in the US
    many of the people, the poor supported it and wanted out or to have the same new rights as in the new USA and that at meeting at the time the crowds were cut down by the powers in the uk and how they were sick of the class system.

    it was taken down within a few minutes by YT or by one of the uk’s many gov paid shill army

    for what, telling the truth
    and this was about something hundreds of years ago and nothing to do with now

    Taken down so much for freedom in the uk and on YT free speech i think not only when it is in there interest in the second or third world

    YT now shows sex, drugs, drinking, smoking, burning things and all sorts of filth to kids under 10 and do not even after many complaints enforce any age restrictions or safety in the videos, even when youtubers show smoking and drug smoking as well as setting things on fire in homes with no age setting on the videos it’s okay by youtube

    they now have an agenda to corrupt our young, maybe it’s time gov’s in the west blocked them or took them down

    Youtube blocks criticism and acts unlawful in the uk braking the EU law on freedom in the uk
    by blocking and taking down videos and comments
    but if you complain that a youtube is talking about anal sex or gay acts with no age warning or setting on the uploaders videos they don’t do anything at all

    youtube is corrupting out children

    • I agree with your point. I have experimented with the so-called restricted mode myself, and some of the videos that it blocks I don’t think are even remotely objectionable. Another thing I find ironic is that some of these videos do actually have children in them. I guess that it works on an algorithm based system.

  2. I made a comment under my screen name “mmarieden” under a youtube video “846-HsS_FGM”, and I can only see that comment while I’m logged in to my account. I logged out of my account and could not see my comment. I then logged in to my other screen names, and the same thing happened. While I was logged in to my other screen name, I could see the same comment, but logged in to my previous screen name, I could only see the comment made under that name. I did this using my child’s screen name as well, just to see if it was only me being censored, my browsers, computers, etc. The same thing happened in all screen names, no matter which computer in my home I used.

  3. Youtube sure likes to lie about its censorship, why they don’t say their system also censors spiritual truth and real liberating freedom. That even happened to me when trying to type a comment with some hidden truths, their system automatically picked up and i was unable to reply to that video.

  4. Anthony van Orizande

    I also tend to run in safety mode for me and my family because we want to block the pornographic material but I since discovered the same.

    For example, Prolife videos are also highly likely to be blocked. A totally safe example is below. I can’t for the life of me understand why a video about pregnant students on campus would be blocked except that someone has an agenda.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SR42Ryy3ck

  5. Thank you so much to help us to know what happens around us.yesterday I left comment without any insult but have same issue as you mentioned,all positive comments still there and open to public.we are living in a surveillance society,it remind me Pinocchio cartoon that they transform to donkeys and when they realized it was too late.anyway the Sun will never stays longtime behind clouds.and again Thank you I feel so happy to see that there are still people who care about the others.

  6. We have to force safety mode, because all search on Google is encrypted, and the content filter can’t inspect packets. Without safety mode, horrible porn can be found in image search previews.

  7. Very interesting, David. Good info to be aware of. I always found it ironic that videos full of violence and sexuality can be found on youtube, while other far less harmful content (like a video about communicating with animals) is sometimes removed or blocked. I always suspect that many of the videos that are flagged are done by organized groups/participants who are there for content control and who are not working for the interest of the “conscious” public.

    Something else you may want to look into is Wikipedia — this is an area where I’ve come across similar issues. There appear to be organized users responsible for altering/censoring the information uploaded on there. Particularly targeted is content about alternative healing, alternative history, alternative archaeology, and spirituality. If content is even permitted to be uploaded about these subjects, you’ll find it’s often altered and presented in a negative way and with negative language used. For example, here’s an article on iridology: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iridology . Whether you agree with/believe in that alternative method of healing, it’s impossible not to notice the negatively overloaded, skeptical, and mocking language used to describe it and the external sources used to discredit it — Quackwatch, The Skeptic’s Dictionary, Confessions of A Former Iridologist, etc. — while not a single source points to the origins and explanations of why/how this could be a legitimate diagnostic practice. I have found the same with nearly all alternative healing articles. Same for anything alternative really — it’s all presented through a negative and mocking filter, as though it has already been successfully refuted and debunked when in reality it should be up to the readers to read unbiasedly presented information and judge that for themselves.

    I’ve read someplace that there is indeed a team of people working behind the scenes on Wikipedia whose job it is to edit and flag content in this manner. After looking around time and time again, I have no doubt that this is true. Even the language/manner/expressions used appear to be the same. And if it is true, that it is really concerning, especially considering that Wikipedia has become such a huge source of quick information used by millions to get informed on ultimately every subject out there.

    • ” I always suspect that many of the videos that are flagged are done by organized groups/participants who are there for content control and who are not working for the interest of the “conscious” public”

      Yes thats 100% true
      do you think only china pays an army of gov shills to take down, block, ridicule or Sheppard a topic or poster
      in the uk we have an army of them too but they are paid more than the penny they pay in china

      the views of things in the uk on the street are not in any way the same as on the internet in comments
      you can see this on YT but even more so on the uk’s version on MSN news comments
      something like 90% of the comments on there are shills or police and co

      people in the real uk on the street are just not that obsessive pro uk, gov, system, rich, police, queen and so on

      they are there to watch the internet, to control people by ridicule or to pose as sometimes ten or more people to control the comments

      they are in many cases young middle class who have an interest in keeping things the same as thats where the money comes from and have no problem with the EU laws on this and freedoms, they just brake them

  8. Really great reporting and research. Thank you.

  9. I understand that youtube will be having only paid subscribers using and businesses posting come the first of the year. And that vimeo is becoming increasing popular due to the fact it is less of a bureaucracy. Ir would make sense youtube could make more money this way… Has anyone have knowledge of this?

    • Hi Julie,

      Thanks for the comment, it’s not something I have heard of (paid subscribers), do you have any information you could point the people reading towards? I hope that doesn’t happen, it would be the death of free speech on youtube as only the people who can afford to pay can spread their message.

      A similar thing happened to facebook when it went public. The organic reach of status updates began to reduce over time and facebook essentially stated that if you want more people to see your status updates you’d need to pay.

      Vimeo is definitely another option for videos. Might be worth people cross posting videos to both if they can.

  10. Wow, browsers, computers, or even the whole countries stuck in the “safety mode”… That definitely sounds like a bad sci-fi movie. Very snaky indeed. I can totally see how this may be aimed predominantly at the youngest generation, which will grow up in a simplified version of reality, stripped of critical thinking or deeper spiritual info. All this, combined with the underlying propaganda that’s going on in many children’s movies and shows today will ensure brainwashed and generally insensitive behavior.

    • There’s so many other entertaining videos around, I agree it will become harder and harder for people to look for and find the truth, especially when it’s often hidden like this!

  11. Youtube is censoring and removing comments and otherwise changing likes and dislike votes on many posts. It is not just the channels that are targeted but also the comment posters. Youtube/Google violated my freedom of speech rights when I exposed and started posting about the Israeli genocide in Gaza. I was posting information from alternative sources with links and it was been censored as spam. I was than prevented from posting any comments for 4 weeks. Unfortunately these sites are being dominated by paid NSA and Youtube and even Hasbara trolls that target individuals that have a right to post info relevant to current events. Information war is very obvious when the community constantly encounters removed and censored videos that cannot be accessed. Very sad state of affairs that clearly shows the heavy hand of the NSA and state control of info.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience Gigi. That’s one thing I didn’t mention in the article, comment can be hidden in safety mode to for no apparent reason.

  12. I did realise anything about this Safety Mode on YouTube. Thanks David for investigating it and explaining all about it. It certainly seems like it is ripe for abuse by controlling entities which want to suppress information. It’s totally shocking that the whole wearechange channel would be completely blocked by this filter, let alone the other examples you highlighted.

    • If you watch some of his videos you can see how he would probably get on the wrong side of a lot of powerful people. He really digs in to try and discover the truth and seems to make a lot of people uncomfortable in the process. He has obviously touched a nerve!

  13. Thanks David, that’s handy to know.

  14. I co-produce the Total View show on YouTube and was surprised to recently discover most of our videos are filtered under this Safety Mode system. What disturbed me most is that it was an accidental discovery – there is no notification when your videos fall under the filtering, and no mention of why.

    This is so sneaky. Who decides that topics like “astral projection” should be age-restricted or categorised alongside violence, porn, hate, and the like?

    To me it just goes to show we can’t rely on entities like Google to assist the truth movement or alternative spirituality. They’re part of the problem. We need more on-the-ground grass roots activity.

    • This is so sneaky. Who decides that topics like “astral projection” should be age-restricted or categorised alongside violence, porn, hate, and the like? – a very good question!

      I think it’s easy to forget that Google despite being massive and almost omnipresent in life / society are still a company with shareholders and other influences which may have particular agendas one way or the other and may colour their representation of things.

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