YouTube plans to ban thousands of white supremacist and extremist videos

Saul Bowman
June 10, 2019

While YouTube will have to determine what constitutes hate speech, it's under extreme pressure by governments and businesses to moderate its video content given recent controversies.

The decision comes just a day after YouTube faced major backlash after it publicly declined to take action against Crowder over accusations that he consistently made homophobic and racist comments about the Vox journalist Carlos Maza. The policies will specifically ban videos "alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation, or exclusion", including groups that "glorify Nazi ideology", the company said, because such beliefs were "inherently discriminatory".

Last week, Maza tweeted a very viral thread about how Crowder had targeted him for harassment, calling him - among other epithets - a "lispy sprite", a "little queer", and a "gay Latino from Vox".

YouTube says that the problem of hate speech is a "complex" one, and in drawing up new policies has engaged with experts in violent extremism, supremacism, civil rights and free speech.

It also said it would work harder to stop YouTube users promoting harmful content from receiving ad money.

Unrelated to Mr Maza's dispute with Mr Crowder, YouTube published a blog on Wednesday pronouncing it had up to this level its hate speech policy.

Dale went on to explain that for a video to violate YouTube's harassment policies, its objective must be to incite harassment against someone, threaten or humiliate someone, or reveal personal information about someone.

According to YouTube, it's taking a three-prong approach to the matter. Also, YouTube will remove content denying that well-documented violent events, like the Holocaust or the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School (in Connecticut, United States), took place.

However, the company has made a decision to suspend Mr Crowder's ability to monetise from adverts due to "widespread harm to the YouTube community resulting from the ongoing pattern of egregious behaviour".

Channels that repeatedly brush up against its hate speech policies will be suspended from the YouTube Partner program.

YouTube said the change in policy will result in the removal of thousands of channels. The effort to recommend more accurate information will expand, too, YouTube said today.

Regulators, advertisers and users have said that free speech should have its limits online, where conspiracies and hate travel fast and can radicalize viewers.

Crowder will be able to reinstate monetization once he addresses "all relevant issues with the channel", such as videos that violate its policies, and "offensive merchandise". Holocaust denial is also banned.

The sweeping actions of the platform, which include not only demonetization but shutting down a large number of channels, Crowder says, is something that should concern all content creators, no matter their ideologically leanings - particularly those who create satirical and humorous content. YouTube and Twitter had banned Jones in August 2018.

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