Published: Fri, June 07, 2019
Tech | By Anita Cain

YouTube to ban ‘hateful’ videos with ‘supremacist’ content

YouTube to ban ‘hateful’ videos with ‘supremacist’ content

On Wednesday, one of those partners, the Anti-Defamation League, applauded the new policy by YouTube but called on the company to do more.

YouTube's insistence that it will ban all forms of "supremacist" videos stands in contrast to a similar policy change at Facebook, which made a decision to exclusively ban "white nationalist" and "white supremacist" content, seemingly ignoring similar content from, for example, Black separatist or radical Zionism movements. "The problem is that [YouTube] allows monsters and bullies to become superstars, break YouTube's rules, build an army of loyal, radicalized followers, and then make millions selling them merch that sustains their work", Maza complained. "Confirmed, the second Adpocalypse IS here and they're coming for you", Crowder said in a tweet today.

So, last week, Maza posted a video compilation of the abuse. Maza said he faced racist and homophobic harassment from well-known right-wing commentator Steven Crowder, who has almost four million YouTube subscribers and frequently attempts to "debunk" Maza's videos for Vox.

Following YouTube's announcement, Maza couldn't hide his disappointment.

YouTube is axing videos that push extremist views or deny events like the Holocaust. "Every time one gets posted, I wake up to a wall of homophobic/racist abuse on Instagram and Twitter", Maza tweeted. Crowder sells the homophobic shirt, and even includes a link to it in the description of an "apology" video in which he further mocks those he has gone after in the past. "Oh my f***ing god", he responded to YouTube.

It conducted an "in-depth review" and on Tuesday it came back with an answer.

YouTube's response has been met with a mixed reaction. "By refusing to take a stand on hate speech, they allow the worst of their communities to hide behind cries of "free speech, ' and 'fake news" all while increasingly targeting people with the most offensive and odious harassment".

After Maza detailed his situation publicly, he said he began receiving an influx of hateful messages from Crowder's viewers. "It's amusing, and this is a comedy show".

"I don't know what else I could have done", Maza said. This is both a theoretical matter - as a business, YouTube relies on the daily effort of hundreds of thousands of vloggers, who need some assurance that they will be dealt with predictably and that their livelihood will not be interrupted unfairly - and a practical matter: it's much cheaper to hand a rule book over to affordable contractors than it is to train up thousands of people in the complicated political-cultural business of principled content moderation. According to Complex, the platform is introducing an anti-hate speech policy which they hope will "specifically prohibit" videos that promote any sort of discrimination or hate by way of supremacy/superiority.

"We understand that you may have unintentionally made mistakes", YouTube told him.

Experts today have been paying attention to how these ideological battles play out on social media. So the videos remain on the site, still fomenting racist and homophobic hatred against Maza and others. The policies could also frustrate free speech advocates who say hate speech should not be censored. We apply these policies consistently, regardless of how many views a video has. But "YouTube will make mistakes, and over-censor".

It will surprise them that hurtful things considered hate speech and punishable by law in real life can simply be labelled "debate" online, and not require any repercussions.

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