Following years of controversy over whether YouTube was making extremist content too available, the Google-owned streaming video giant announced new steps to “tackle hate” on Wednesday.
In a post on its official blog, YouTube announced several updates. The service will remove more hateful and supremacist content, it will reduce “borderline content” — such as videos promoting flat Earth theories, or those pushing bogus medical cures — while also promoting more authoritative content.
From now on, YouTube claims that they will be “specifically prohibiting videos 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.” The streaming platform also pledged to curtail videos which glorify Nazi ideology, as well as those arguing that such “well-documented events” as the Holocaust — or the Sandy Hook massacre — did not take place.
The site will also continue to reward creators who are trusted, per their blog entry, and will also enforce its monetization policies against those who violate YouTube’s hate speech policies. YouTube is positioning these moves as an extension of steps having been previously taken by the company, and while the service hasn’t yet deleted a massive amount of videos or accounts in apparent violation, the implication is that this will happen in the future.
The company, like many social media platforms, has been criticized for being too slow to ban abusive, extremist, and misleading content. However, other pundits have criticized YouTube for being censorious, or for being biased against conservatives, per National Review.
New: YouTube is removing thousands of videos from white supremacists and tightening its hate speech policies.— Kevin Roose (@kevinroose) June 5, 2019
At the same time, it is under fire for allowing a popular right-wing creator to harass @gaywonk.
Making rules is easier than enforcing them! https://t.co/PCtM5eGnjn
“The openness of YouTube’s platform has helped creativity and access to information thrive,” the YouTube blog post continued. “It’s our responsibility to protect that, and prevent our platform from being used to incite hatred, harassment, discrimination and violence.” The company added that they are committed to living up to the responsibility of doing that, well into the future.
The announcement comes amid a controversy in which Vox video host Carlos Maza, per Buzzfeed, has accused conservative comedian and YouTube content creator Steven Crowder of directing racist and homophobic harassment at him. YouTube tweeted at Maza this week that, after an in-depth review, they had determined that while Crowder’s videos had been “clearly hurtful,” the videos did not violate their policies.
“@YouTube pretends to care about queer and marginalized creators while refusing to protect us from abuse and harassment. @YouTube arms our abusers with the platforms they need to target us when we speak up,” Maza tweeted Thursday, prior to the announcement from YouTube.
YouTube, per NBC News‘ Ben Collins on Twitter, announced Wednesday that it was demonitizing Crowder’s channel.