Why did YouTube ban a video of a chocolate cake?

Posted on July 6, 2018


Scientists have noticed that video sharing site YouTube is increasingly taking down their uploaded content, with even a demonstration of how to make a chocolate cake considered too extreme.

Back in February 2017, the channel ChemPlayer alerted its Twitter followers that YouTube was clamping down on its videos.

With YouTube now having terminated the channel for breaching its guidelines, ChemPlayer has now moved its content to rival video hosting site BitChute, including the “dangerously delicious chocolate mousse cake” video, which can now be seen here, if you dare watch it!

So, why on earth does YouTube seem to have a problem with culinary experimentation? It appears that the site has decided that this and other ChemPlayer videos violate its policies on harmful or dangerous content, decreeing that impressionable viewers might perform dangerous experiments of their own after watching them. Perhaps they also took the jokey reference to chocolate being a “psychoactive drug” literally, influencing the decision to take down the cake.

There can be little doubt that chemistry has become a lot cooler than it used to be in recent years, helped by the popularity of the American TV series ‘Breaking Bad’ that follows a chemistry teacher turned methamphetamine ‘cook’. As well as this though, YouTube has chemistry videos to thank for much of its early-years success.

One of the earliest viral crazes on the site was the Diet Coke and Mentos videos. The below video is now 12 years old, and has been viewed more than 18 million times.

In the interests of education, you can learn why the minty sweets react with fizzy drinks in this spectacular way here.

Also, one of the first examples of YouTube marketing had a scientific edge, with the ‘Will It Blend?’ videos dating all the way back to 2006 and showing the powers of the Blendtec range in making purees out of items like lightbulbs, golf clubs and mobile phones.

These videos are not just fun, but educational too. One could also point to the excellent Periodic Videos channel, which has a video dedicated to every element of the periodic table. I was useless at chemistry at school and found it boring, yet I love these videos, so it shows how YouTube can get both children and adults engaged in learning.

It seems likely to me that the removal of videos like ChemPlayer’s chocolate cake simply comes down to YouTube moderators not having time to watch and understand flagged videos in full, and being trigger happy. With 300 hours of video added to YouTube every minute, I suppose keeping tabs on it is far from a piece of cake.

Content Team Leader at Engage Web
John works for Engage Web as a Content Team Leader and regularly contributes to the website and programmes of his beloved Chester F.C.
John Murray
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