By Michael Thompson
WASHINGTON – One of the most popular Christian apologetics YouTube channels has been restored fully to good standing after the account was terminated by Google “for reasons that were never clearly defined,” the owner of the channel told WND in an exclusive interview.
Pastor Carl Gallups , whose new book “The Magic Man in the Sky”
comes out on May 15, credited an article which appeared at WND.com on May 1 with igniting a firestorm of protest from the more than 21,000 subscribers to the PPSimmons YouTube Channel. That helped lead to the right person to find out why the channel was “flagged” and removed from good standing with YouTube, which is owned by Google.
“After the outrage created by the WND story, my ministry was bombarded with emails and requests for me to appear on radio programs to discuss what happened and the outpouring of support was just tremendous,” said Gallups.
“Well, one of the emails we got was from a fan of the PPSimmons YouTube Channel who knew someone that worked at Google’s headquarters in Silicon Valley. That person investigated why our channel was taken down and found out that we were targeted in a mass ‘flagging’ campaign,” Gallups said.
All videos that are posted on YouTube can be rated by those who view it; an individual can click the “like” button (a “thumbs up” icon); or they can click the dislike button (a “thumbs down” icon); they can click an icon a “flag” to alert YouTube that the video they just viewed needs to be “flagged as inappropriate.”
The source inside Google, who must remain anonymous, told Gallups that a “coordinated flagging” campaign had occurred, which triggered the channel to be pulled.
For almost two weeks, where once one of the more popular God and Country YouTube Channels – with more than 23,000 subscribers, 530-plus videos, and 21 million views – could be accessed, a barren page was found, save for a message reading, “This account has been terminated due to repeated or severe violations of our Community Guidelines and/or claims of copyright infringement.”
While the PPSimmons Channel was down, WND.com investigated another popular channel on YouTube, that of professional homosexual and anti-bullying guru Dan Savage. His channel on YouTube, known as SavageLove, has 16,426 subscribers and more than 5.8 million views. When his channel is accessed, the first video that appears has the caption, “Dan Savage: ‘My boyfriend likes a lot of suction while getting a blowjob. Give me some tips.’”
“Some videos are obviously more equal than others,” said Gallups. “It makes you wonder who is really in charge of community standards at YouTube.”
Gallups, one of the public faces behind the popular PPSimmons YouTube Ministry, stressed in the May 1 interview with WND.com that the videos he had put up on the channel did not violate any of YouTube’s standards.
Out of more than 530 videos released over a three-year time span, with a number of them having more than a million views, only three videos had come to the attention of YouTube and been “flagged” for potentially inappropriate content, Gallups told WND.com.
“When we first got started in 2009, we did a video on abortion that was ‘flagged’ by YouTube for being too graphic,” said Gallups. “Immediately, the video was pulled and PPSimmons Channel was placed on probation for period of time before we were completely restored to a ‘Good Standing’ rating with YouTube.”
Another video airing the George Zimmerman 911 call in its entirety was initially “flagged,” but restored quickly by YouTube. Gallups pointed out that another YouTube Channel actually was able to use his Zimmerman 911 call video and monetized it (have ads placed in the video while it played) while his was “flagged.”
The video that was targeted by a coordinated mass “flagging” campaign, which was used as justification to close down the PPSimmons Channel was titled “A Call To Prayer.”
“It was a simple video, in my voice, urging our subscribers to pray for YouTube users who were asking for our prayers, because of spiritual battles that they were experiencing in their life,” said Gallups.
Were it not for the “good Samaritan” who helped him ascertain the problem with his YouTube Channel, Gallups isn’t convinced that the PPSimmons Channel would have come back online.
“To be attacked in a massive 'flagging' campaign and have your channel, which was in good standing with YouTube and then not to have any contact whatsoever with the Google to determine why the channel was down… well, it was frustrating,” said Gallups.
“We had been on YouTube since 2009 and been in excellent standing with their community guidelines. We had more than 21,000 subscribers, yet when the channel was disabled the character of everyone associated with PPSimmons was impugned by the message that was displayed when people tried to access it,” Gallups said. He said the most frustrating part was the lack of communication coming from YouTube over why the channel was terminated.
“It’s great to have the PPSimmons Channel back on YouTube, but we have to wonder if we can be the victim of another coordinated flagging campaign that will only result with the channel being pulled again,” said Gallups.