In a move to squelch hate speech, YouTube announced via a blog post today updated policies prohibiting videos touting white supremacy and neo-Nazism. In the past, the video streaming company made it difficult for videos in this vein to be located on the site. Now, YouTube is not only prohibiting them, they’re immediately removing any content “alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion based on qualities like age, gender, race, caste, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status.”
Various social media platforms have come under fire when perpetrators of hate crimes shared offensive videos on their sites. Two such instances were the mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, during which the shooter live-streamed his actions on Facebook.
Google-owned YouTube follows in the footsteps of Facebook, which has banned content promoting white supremacy, white nationalism and white separatism. Such moves have been lauded by some, criticized by others, saying the companies are walking a thin line between protecting the public versus the freedom of speech.
YouTube’s addressed this criticism in today’s post, too. “The openness of YouTube’s platform has helped creativity and access to information thrive. It’s our responsibility to protect that, and prevent our platform from being used to incite hatred, harassment, discrimination and violence.
In January, YouTube started culling “borderline content.” An example of this, as recently reported by Parentology, was Chicago real estate agent Kerri Rivera’s channel promoting bleach as a cure for autism.
Also being removed through the ruling are videos making conspiracy claims decrying historic events such as 9/11, the Holocaust and massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School as never having happened.
Thousands of accounts and videos are in the process of being removed, with YouTube saying in its blog statement, “We will begin enforcing this updated policy today; however, it will take time for our systems to fully ramp up and we’ll be gradually expanding coverage over the next several months.”
Moving forward, the YouTube post says, “We are committed to taking the steps needed to live up to this responsibility today, tomorrow and in the years to come.”
AP News: YouTube Updates Hate Speech Guidelines to Prohibit Videos
CNN: YouTube Says It’ll Ban Accounts that Promote Nazism or Deny Sandy Hook Massacre
The Independent: YouTube to Delete Thousands of Accounts After it Bans Supremacists, Conspiracy Theorists and Other Harmful Users