first published on September 14, 2017 by Josh
History will repeat itself if it is forgotten. The Syrian Civil War has been raging since early 2011, and in that time hundreds of thousands of gigabytes of combat footage have been uploaded to popular video hosting webpages like YouTube. That footage showed death, dismay, destruction, and carnage. It also chronicled almost the entire history of the Syrian Civil War directly from the perspective of the individuals who were fighting in the conflict. Unfortunately, most of this footage isn’t something that popular brands like Verizon and Coca-Cola want their image in front of. So in a rush to purge that content, YouTube “inadvertently” deleted thousands of videos that documented the raging conflict.
YouTube states that the reason they deleted the footage was in order to stop the spread of extremist propaganda on the platform. It’s also no secret that many advertisers have been shying away from the popular platform due to their advertisements running on questionable content, leading some popular YouTubers to start complaining about an “Adpocalypse.” What’s the real issue though? Why should we care if footage from the Syrian Civil War is deleted en masse? Does it really matter in the grand scheme of things?
Honestly, yes it does matter that the footage is being removed from the platform. The footage, mostly documented by the fighters who are living it, and the hundreds of independent reporters trying to uncover it, shows us a side of this war that we have never had access to in any war from the past. The real issue is that with thousands of videos being deleted by YouTube, we are also seeing the removal of content that could be used post-war in order to prosecute individuals who have been committing serious war crimes. Which is unfortunate because YouTube is one of the few outlets people in these conflict areas can use to get their stories out. Also, the historical value of the footage is on a level that we have never seen in any previous war. When people look back to the Syrian Civil War to see conflict, they essentially should be able to type in any time, date, or location, and see actual footage from the war that happened on that exact day.
Enter Funker530, and the many pages out there like us. We have been storing thousands of videos from the Syrian Civil War, and many other conflicts that YouTube has deleted, since the beginning of those conflicts. While YouTube may be doing their best to cleanse their own platform of reality based content because it is advertiser unfriendly, we have been privately storing and hosting that exact same content on our end, where YouTube can’t touch it. We aren’t alone in this endeavor either. Many people across the internet with an interest in war and conflict have been doing the very same thing. Hopefully by the time the many conflicts in the Middle East and around the world have concluded, platforms just like ours will be found by the people who need the footage. When the time comes, the value in footage like the video below, that shows Russian soldiers committing a war crime, will be used to bring criminals to justice.