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Four Steps to Identify the Poster of Trolling Comments on YouTube


Four Steps to Identify the Poster of Trolling Comments on YouTube

YouTube is, needless to say, the world’s largest video sharing site. Many people enjoy posting their own created videos. YouTube allows you to post and view comments for each of the uploaded videos. Many people probably have checked the comment section because they are curious about the evaluations from others on the videos they have watched.

Among these comments, while there are words of praise and appreciation, there are also scattered expressions of unbearable defamation. There are not a few video posters who are troubled by trolling comments. There may also be video posters who want to identify the person making the trolling comments and stop them from making malicious comments.

In this article, we will introduce a method to identify the poster who made the slanderous comments. Especially for those who are posting videos on YouTube themselves, we think this will be a useful reference, so please read on.

Examples of Defamation and Trolling Comments on YouTube Videos

YouTube is a site where anyone can easily post comments. Therefore, it is a site with a high risk of defamation and reputational damages being caused due to so-called “trolling comments”. Here are some typical examples of defamation.


Content intended to harass the video uploader or performers may be posted.

  • This uploader’s face is disgusting. I can’t believe they can live with such a face.
  • The voice is squeaky and annoying. I wish their vocal cords would break.
  • This video is a rip-off of another channel. Everyone, please give it a low rating.

Discriminatory Expressions

Discriminatory expressions against ethnicities, religions, genders, disabled people, etc. may also be posted.

  • This black person, I bet you wouldn’t notice them even in the dark lol
  • This stupid idiot, I hope they get hit by a car!
  • Women are inferior to men in ability, so they should just stay at home and do housework


Content that can be interpreted as a threat or a blackmail may be written by those who hold a grudge against the uploader or to vent their daily frustrations.

  • I’m so annoyed with this uploader, I’m going to find and kill him
  • I’ve set a time bomb in front of your house, so be careful!

Privacy Invasions

Personal information such as address, name, phone number, and place of employment may also be written.

You Can Request YouTube to Remove Trolling Comments

Posts like the above are likely to violate YouTube’s Community Guidelines. Therefore, if you request YouTube to remove them, there is a high chance that they will comply.

Below, we will introduce detailed procedures needed to be taken when identifying the poster.

Procedure to Identify YouTube Troll Commenters ①: Request for IP Address Disclosure

We will introduce the method of requesting the disclosure of IP addresses, which is necessary to identify troll commenters.

What is an IP Address?

The first step is to request the disclosure of the IP address from Google, which operates YouTube.

An IP address is a number assigned to devices such as PCs and smartphones connected to the Internet, and it serves as an address on the Internet.

You may wonder why we specifically request the disclosure of the IP address, not the direct personal information of the poster, such as name, address, and phone number. The reason is that the site (YouTube) is likely not to hold such direct personal information of the poster as you only need “declared” first and last name when creating a Google account.

Provisional Disposition Procedure

According to information on the Internet, the average attorney’s fee is

about 300,000 yen for the initial fee and about 300,000 yen for the success fee.

The fee may vary depending on the content and volume of the post, as well as the attorney (law firm) you hire, so please consider the above figures as a reference only.

Although it is not often mentioned in online articles, YouTube is a site operated by Google LLC, a foreign corporation. Therefore, to carry out a provisional disposition procedure, it is necessary to obtain the registration of a foreign corporation and needed to have the documents and the evidences translated into English. In many cases, these actual expenses are likely to total around 200,000 yen.

Proving the Illegality of Troll Comments

In order for a request for IP address disclosure to be approved in a provisional disposition procedure, it is necessary to prove that the post is illegal and that your claim needs to be recognized. On the other hand, when applying for deletion from the site, you can get it deleted by claiming and proving that it is not only illegal but also a violation of the guidelines.

For example, YouTube’s guidelines state

Harassing videos and comments are not allowed on YouTube. If harassment escalates into a malicious attack, we can remove it if you report it. Otherwise, if you feel a little uncomfortable, please ignore it and let it pass.

YouTube: Community Guidelines

According to these rules, even if it is not illegal, comments that constitute malicious harassment can be deleted.

On the other hand, in order to receive the disclosure have the IP address disclosed, it is necessary that the target comment is illegal. In order for the illegality of the comment to be recognized by the court, two things are required: “a legal claim that the post is illegal” and “evidence to support the claim”.

In other words, you need to make a legal claim about what kind of legal rights were violated and why it can be said that they were violated. Making such legal claims can be difficult for laypeople, so we recommend hiring an attorney who is strong in online defamation.

Procedure to Identify YouTube Troll Commenters ②: Prohibition of Log Deletion

By obtaining the IP address, you can identify the provider that supplies the internet connection environment to the device that made the post. For example, you can find out whether it is a fixed line like NTT or a mobile line like docomo. The provider holds communication logs such as the address and name of the person (technically, the contract holder of the line) who posted the relevant comment.

However, these logs are not stored indefinitely. If the logs are deleted, even if you request information disclosure, there will be no information to disclose and the attempt will fail. Therefore, it is essential to have the logs stored by any means. For this reason, it is necessary to initiate a legal procedure to prohibit the provider from deleting the logs.

However, in reality, in many cases, it is sufficient to issue a notice to the effect of “I am about to file a lawsuit for information disclosure, so please keep the logs” without initiating a legal procedure. However, even when issuing this notice, it is necessary to assert and prove that the relevant comment is illegal.

The average cost of a lawyer to issue this notice is estimated to be around 100,000 yen if there is one provider.

Procedure to Identify YouTube Troll Commenters ③: Request for Disclosure of Address and Name

Once the procedure to prohibit the deletion of logs is completed, you will need to initiate a lawsuit requesting the disclosure of the poster’s address and name from the provider. This disclosure request requires a lawsuit, not a provisional disposition. As addresses and names are important personal information, you must carefully consider whether they are worth disclosing. Disclosure requests to administrative agencies such as government offices are also carefully carried out in accordance with the law.

Just like the rights of those who have been defamed, the personal information of the sender is also information worth protecting. For example, even if a comment is posted saying “it’s a rip-off”, if that is true, the disclosure request may not be approved. Careful discussions are held from this perspective, and only when the court recognizes it as an illegal post, a disclosure order for the address and name is issued to the provider.

It is said that the market price for attorney fees for a request to disclose sender information is

about 300,000 yen for the retainer fee, and about 200,000 yen for the success fee

Procedure for Identifying YouTube Troll Commenters ④: Civil and Criminal Trials

If you win in a lawsuit for disclosure of information, you can identify who the poster is. Then, it is possible to make a claim for damages in a civil or criminal trial against the identified poster. However, the crime of defamation, which is the subject of a criminal trial, is a complaint-based crime, so a prosecutor cannot initiate a criminal trial without a complaint from the victim. Therefore, it is necessary to file a damage report and question criminal responsibility.

The “damages” that can be claimed here broadly refer to the following three:

  • Consolation money corresponding to mental damage
  • Attorney fees (investigation costs) used in Steps 1-3
  • “Attorney fees” when conducting a lawsuit for damages

If all the costs required for the procedure can be recovered through a claim for damages, there will be no actual burden on the client. However, there are risks such as whether the claim for damages will be recognized and whether a sufficient amount of compensation can be obtained even if it is recognized.

Furthermore, YouTube is a site that many people use via an app. It is expected that many cases will be used on smartphones, but it is also possible to use public Wi-Fi when out and about. Public wireless LANs have high anonymity, so compared to carrier lines, the procedure will take time.

Summary: Consult a Lawyer to Identify YouTube Troll Commenters

We have explained the method to identify YouTube commenters and the average cost of legal fees in such cases. To identify a commenter on YouTube, you need to go through three court procedures as follows:

  • Provisional disposition for IP address disclosure
  • Order to prohibit log deletion
  • Lawsuit for disclosure of sender information

Therefore, it takes time and costs to hire a lawyer. If the operator is a foreign corporation, additional costs such as translation of documents and evidence into English and acquisition of foreign corporate registration will be incurred.

However, if you successfully identify the commenter, you may be able to recover costs by claiming damages such as legal fees and compensation for emotional distress from the commenter. In any case, legal discussion is essential, so if you want to identify the commenter, it is recommended to consult a lawyer who is experienced in dealing with internet defamation.

Introduction to Our Firm’s Measures

Monolith Law Office is a legal office with high expertise in both IT, particularly the internet, and law. Our firm has a track record of identifying posters who make various types of defamatory posts, such as slander, privacy infringement, and impersonation, on various sites ranging from social networking services like Twitter to anonymous bulletin boards like 5chan.

Managing Attorney: Toki Kawase

The Editor in Chief: Managing Attorney: Toki Kawase

An expert in IT-related legal affairs in Japan who established MONOLITH LAW OFFICE and serves as its managing attorney. Formerly an IT engineer, he has been involved in the management of IT companies. Served as legal counsel to more than 100 companies, ranging from top-tier organizations to seed-stage Startups.

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