By Joshua Waddles
18 May 2022
The My Little Pony fanfiction titled “My Little Dashie,” by ROBCakeran53, caught fire within the Brony fandom since its publication on FimFiction in 2011. The story inspired unofficial sequels, fan art, a comic, voice over work on YouTube and a mini movie by StormXF3.
With over a million subscribers on YouTube, Swiss creator StormXF3 amassed this legion of followers by editing My Little Pony animations together with live action actors. StormXf3’s videos frequently rack up millions of views, occasionally coming close to or even beating the early success of the “My Little Dashie” fan film published eight years ago, yet at 31 million views, “My Little Dashie- The Mini Movie” remains an essential component of the channel’s growth.
Or at least it did, until YouTube hit the creator with the dreaded notification. Brony creators live in fear of YouTube setting their content to “Made for Kids,” which is essentially a death sentence for any video. “Made for Kids” videos cannot be saved to playlists or “Watch Later,” they will not show up in recommendations and all of the comments on the video, tens of thousands of them, have been deleted.
YouTube enforces these restrictions in compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Google’s support site gives a list of restrictions suffered by any video or channel labeled as “Made for kids,” many of which make very little sense. Auto-play is turned off for these videos, as are playbacks in miniplayer or notifications. Cards are end screens are not allowed, nor are video watermarks. If the entire channel is declared Made for Kids, the channel will lose its memberships, ability to post or create stories, and subscribers will no longer be able to receive notifications.
Children do not have to be the primary audience of a video or channel in order to be declared Made for Kids. The guidelines can include any video which features “an emphasis on kids characters, themes, toys or games.”
If widely enforced, this criteria could basically amount to a shadow ban of not only the entire Brony community, but every creator which features videos on cartoons, video games, toys or cosplay.
To add insult to injury, StormXF3 received word of the video’s destruction just a few hours after making a birthday announcement.