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Scammers use YouTube’s three-strike rule to extort content creators

Almost everyone likes to spend some time on YouTube – be it for how-to videos and instructables, vlogs, let’s plays, or other video content. Especially for the younger generation YouTube has replaced linear TV.

No wonder that scammers and cybercriminals are trying to get their share out of the YouTube community as well.

Three strikes and the content creator is out

As most online video providers YouTube needs to deal with copyright infringements. A platform as huge is bound to have people violating the ToS – just think about pirates, uploading whole movies, etc.

Their system is easy: They have some content that is filtered more or less automatically, and of course they have the option for everyone to report infringements as well. Now every violation of the guidelines results in one strike and a streamer can get up to three of them. If the third strike is issued within a three-month period though, the account will be terminated – and that’s what the scammers are going for.

Fake infringements are a problem

According to BleepingComputer they are using this policy to report fake infringements. Once a channel has received two fake strikes they contact the creator and demand money via PayPal or Bitcoin. If the demand is not met, they will issue a third strike, whereas if the ransom is payed the scammers promise to contact YouTube to get the fake infringements removed.

In the video below a YouTube called ObbyRaidz talks about his dilemma:

Now if you think that this issue should be easy to resolve you are only half right: While YouTube is pretty fast when it comes to distribute strikes it takes them way longer to remove them.

In the end things worked out well for the YouTuber and the account which reported the fake infringements was deleted – but what if the scammers had reacted faster and had delivered a tighter timeline? One can only hope that YouTube will create a mechanism that protects content creators from cybercriminals like that.

PR & Social Media Manager @ Avira |Gamer. Geek. Tech addict.