The World of Tanks community is in uproar this week over the removal of a prominent YouTuber from the game’s developer-backed promotional program and the deletion of a critical video in a move that smacks of censorship.
YouTuber SirFoch’s latest WoT video [NSFW] aggressively berates Wargaming for overt pay-to-win tactics with its $80 Chrysler K Grand Finals premium tank in what is legitimate but profanity-laced criticism. But after its publication, Wargaming demanded he remove the video, expelled him from its program, accused him of “slandering [the] brand,” and apparently then threatened to abuse YouTube’s copyright claim tool to kill the video and cause him lost revenue on future videos – at least according to the chat logs provided by SirFoch.
“We asked him to remove the video because he abused his status as a contributor and the content he received from us to create a video that defamed our company image with the tone and language he used,” Wargaming rep Ph3lan told Kotaku. A second statement from the company insists it’s not censoring the YouTuber and effectively accuses him of lying about threatening to censor his future videos. (In fact, it appears Wargaming didn’t directly threaten to censor future videos but rather threatened to lodge copyright claims in perpetuity to deny him monetization, having the same effect. There’s also a forum Q&A where Wargaming repeats that refusal to remove videos would cause the studio to “go through YouTube” to achieve its ends.)
And just to be clear, the video in question is crass and loaded with directed f-bombs, but there’s nothing personal or hate-speech-tinged in the diatribe, nor is there any slander, nor are there any grounds we can see to invoke YouTube’s copyright claim process. This is exactly the kind of studio abuse that’s plagued games journalists and enthusiasts on the platform and beyond for the last few years, and it’s something Google has done very little to address, arguably preferring to side with accusers by default to absolve its own legal responsibilities.
We’ve included the video below for you to judge for yourself as it’s been rehomed on another channel, but please keep in mind, it’s not safe for work.
Here’s the second video explaining the disappearance of the first one and expanding his criticism:
And here are the Discord logs.