If there is a video on YouTube, that contains your personal data or defamatory content, you have a right to have it removed from the internet or from search results under a right to be forgotten or under defamation law. This step by step guide is based on nearly 10 years of experience of removing videos from YouTube.
How to remove videos from Youtube step by step
A YouTube video might contain imagery, music, sound, spoken words and written words. Written words might appear on the video’s title, description or in comments. Any part of the video, including the title, description and comments may contain data which could be subject to a right to be forgotten removal request. This might include your name, your postal address, your image or an identifiable description of you or even a picture of your home. Each of these details, as long as they appear under the video URL might give YouTube sufficient grounds for removing videos or a video from YouTube. The video might be silent, it might only include limited text, it might have very few words or many but this does not matter. What matters is that the video is capable of identifying you as an individual. When a video contains half-truths, selective data or a potentially manipulated account of events, it is likely that you will have sufficient legal grounds for making an application for removing the video from YouTube.
The next step for you to start removing videos from YouTube will be to identify the personal data that you believe is published unlawfully. You will need to look not just at the spoken words and images but also at the context of what is being said, and of course, at each of the comments at the bottom of the video.
Make sure that you write down all the instances where your personal data appears or are being mentioned in the video. Search for personal data in the video's comments. When you identify personal data, right click the comments' date and then right click "copy link address" to capture the unique resource locator (URL) of the comment. Without this information, YouTube will be unable to assist you.
The next step to help you remove videos from YouTube is to either post a complaint to YouTube on its “report abuse” page: https://www.youtube.com/reportabuse.
If your request to YouTube is refused, don't give up. Consider serving a GDPR Notice on Google at its California head office. This usually does the job, provided you have a reasonably good case for removing the videos from YouTube.
Removing videos from internet search results might prove more challenging than you might expect. Having the video deleted by the YouTuber might be a better option but it could also present some risks. You can ensure removing videos from YouTube on a permanent basis by contacting the poster of the offending videos. The poster will be considered as the administrator of the YouTube account or channel and as such, can be held responsible and liable for breaches of your data by other YouTube users who posted unlawful comments. You might want to serve the YouTube account administrator a GDPR Notice which will force them to delete the video altogether. In many cases, this is a better option than serving the GDPR Notice on YouTube because YouTube, in response to your GDPR Notice might only remove access to the offending videos from the EU, making them still available to access from other countries. This will make it hard for you to then facilitate the complete deletion of the offending videos.
One of the main limitations of removing videos under a right to be forgotten is that Google will often only block access to the videos from the UK or from other EU countries. What our clients usually want is for the offending YouTube video to be completely deleted from YouTube. Often, videos on YouTube infringe individuals' rights to privacy but also harass and defame. The posters of the videos, particularly videos who enjoy high volume of viewers, do this to gain viewers. They tend to have a video channel which benefit them financially. Some of these individuals feel unusually powerful, almost untouchable because they believe that they hold some sort of power over their victim through the high volume of viewers on their YouTube video channel. They understand the power of YouTube but also the devastating impact a video can have on the victim. They assume the victim is too scared and intimidated to take action to have the YouTube video removed from the internet. At the same time, the YouTuber might also be wary about losing his video channel, having it disabled or completely removed. They often are also concerned about their reputation and about any legal action they might find themselves being involved in. As videos on YouTube are often harassing in nature, there is a good likelihood that with the correct strategy and the right level of investigation and understanding of the parties involved, we can have most offending videos completely deleted from YouTube. Forever.
One of the reasons why removing a video from search results under a right to be forgotten could take some time is because YouTube and Google Search are owned by the same company, which means that if YouTube declines an application to delete or remove access to an offending video, Google search will continue to offer that video in search results. Sometimes however, YouTube will agree to disable access to a video but will keep the comments section. This means that the video will still appear on Google search despite being disabled by YouTube. On other occasions, the video will be deleted by YouTube will continue to show snippets of the deleted video for some time. If this happens, you will need to contact Google under a right to be forgotten, explain the situation and request that it removes all traces of the deleted video from search results. You may also use Google's outdated content removal tool but this will require you to have a Google account
You can make a right to be forgotten application directly to YouTube because YouTube operates its own search engine and because it hosts the offending information. You might also make an additional right to be forgotten application to Google in its capacities as a search engine provider and as the owner of YouTube. You may also serve a GDPR Notice on Google. To have the offending videos completely deleted from YouTube, you might prefer to skip the above steps, and contact the YouTube channel administrator instead. Make sure that you seek legal advice from an experienced internet lawyer if you encounter any issues because the lawyer will support you in making the most effective choices that in turn, speed things up for you.