A Christian channel on the video streaming site YouTube was inexplicably suspended over the holiday weekend - and was not reinstated until after the media began investigating the decision.
According to a report from WND, YouTube guidelines provide users with three strikes before an account is terminated. Users are required to abide by guidelines addressing issues such as hate speech, harassment, and cyberbullying.
Thus, Olive Tree Ministries' Jan Markell was shocked and confused when, on Saturday, the popular site issued the third strike for her video interview with Tom Doyle about his book Killing Christians: Living the Faith Where It's Not Safe to Believe.
In the interview, Markell reportedly discussed how much of the violence in the Middle East is occurring in the same region where Assyrians, two millennia ago, did the same.
In response, Doyle contended that those who hate Christianity, specifically Jesus, are influential both in the Middle East and in North Korea.
"What this really is is a war on Jesus," he said. "This is evil regimes wanting to eradicate anything about Jesus on planet Earth. There is persecution wherever people name the name of Jesus."
He also argued that despite Iraq's attempts to eradicate Christianity, the religion continues to grow at a dramatic rate. However, both Doyle and Markell agreed that persecution of Christians is "coming to America."
The report notes that YouTube informed Olive Tree Ministries about a second "strike" or a complaint on Saturday morning, warning that the channel could be suspended for two weeks. After just a few hours, they were notified of a third strike and the permanent ban. Markell then asked for the process to be reviewed, but her appeal was rejected.
After WND had proceeded to inquire about the removal of the channel, YouTube reinstated it several days later and issued an explanation: "When it's brought to our attention that a video or channel has been removed mistakenly, we act quickly to reinstate it."
However, some believe the move was far from accidental, as this is not the first time the streaming service has removed Christian channels and videos.
Charisma News notes that in early July, YouTube removed the trailer from Ray Comfort's film "Audacity". The theme of "Audacity" is that Christians who speak up about their belief that homosexuality is a choice aren't trying to spread hate or hurt someone but are doing it to warn people and save them from God's wrath.
"This is such an irony," Comfort said at the time. "Last year YouTube sent us a trophy congratulating us for surpassing 100,000 subscribers. Yet, now, because someone didn't like what they saw, YouTube is denying our freedom of speech and religion, and engaging in illegal viewpoint discrimination."
The video site reinstated the trailer several days later, and explained that it had been removed "as a violation of YouTube's policy against spam, scams and commercially deceptive content."
"But since we found nothing in it that fit that description, we naturally concluded that YouTube didn't like the content and yanked it," Comfort said. "YouTube kindly explained that we had violated their metadata policy. We had added a list of keywords in the video description section, not knowing that was against their company policy."