With his YouTube channel, Cody Don Reeder from Utah experiments with lotions, potions, and poisons in the name of science. He also completes a series of other science experiments for users to show how the natural world works.
Cody’s Labs fans—which includes his 1.2 million subscribers—won’t be viewing any new science experiments for the next two weeks, however, after his account was flagged for inappropriate content. Allegedly the account was flagged twice for a video he created that shows how fruit flies can survive a trip in the microwave.
Reeder created a video where he explains why he won’t be posting content for the next few weeks and warns that if he receives another flag on his videos, his entire account could be taken down. He said that while he’s familiar with the appeals process to fight unwarranted content flaggings, he is worried that this time he will lose his account.
“They seem to be happening more and more frequently,” he told his viewers. “Maybe YouTube has changed a setting so now things that would have been OK are now not?”
Fans of the channel are both angry and mystified as to how the fruit fly video would go against YouTube’s Community Guidelines—the flies weren’t harmed in the video, after all.
One Reddit user pointed out that YouTube may have been concerned the video displayed animal cruelty. But the law doesn’t actually protect insects. Plus, the video probably would have needed to show that the fruit flies experienced pain.
Others blame YouTube’s content algorithm for mistakenly taking down the video after it was flagged. This argument follows a slew of content creators complaining about how strenuous YouTube’s community guidelines can be and how easy it is to be suspended. Opponents of the updated community guidelines also argue it limits free speech:
Cody's Lab is at risk of being shut down due to false YT guideline strikes. SO sick of this shit. Go show support https://t.co/U11Aqz2tEx— Maker's Muse (@makersmuse) November 6, 2017
@YouTube The 3 blind mice could do a better job of content policing than your current system, fix it, and bring back Cody's Lab— Liam Quinn (@Liam_Quinn) November 6, 2017
@TeamYouTube Please fix the algorithm, it's harm to the channel (Cody's Lab) and realize this algorithm is eventually the end of youtube.— Zach White (@paintman33) November 6, 2017
The Daily Dot reached out to YouTube for comment, but as of press time had not received a response.
To combat the issue, Reeder said he plans to create a backup account—or might even leave YouTube altogether—to use in case his real channel is taken down.
“I do have the wonderful Patreon supporters,” he said. “Even if I have to go to another platform that doesn’t give me ad supported revenue, I’ll still make videos.”