YouTube Bans Supremacist Content And Removed Thousands Of Channels

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YouTube is changing its community guidelines to ban videos promoting the superiority of any group as a justification for discrimination against others based on their age, gender, race, caste, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status, the company said today. The move, which will result in the removal of all videos promoting Nazism and other discriminatory ideologies, is expected to result in the removal of thousands of channels across YouTube.

In a blog post the company wrote: “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.”

The changes announced on Wednesday attempt to improve its content moderation in three ways. First, the ban on supremacists will remove Nazis and other extremists who advocate segregation or exclusion based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status. In addition to those categories, YouTube is adding caste, which has significant implications in India, and “well-documented violent events,” such as the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting and 9/11. Users are no longer allowed to post videos saying those events did not happen, YouTube said.

Second, YouTube said it would expand efforts announced in January to reduce the spread of what it calls borderline content and harmful misinformation. The policy, which applies to videos that flirt with violating the community guidelines but ultimately fall short, aims to limit the promotion of those videos through recommendations.

YouTube said the policy, which affects videos including flat-earthers and peddlers of phony miracle cures, had already decreased the number of views that borderline videos receive by 50 percent. In the future, the company said, it will recommend videos from more authoritative sources, like top news channels, in its next watch panel.

Finally, YouTube said it would restrict channels from monetizing their videos if they are found to repeatedly brush up against our hate speech policies. Those channels will not be able to run ads or use Super Chat, which lets channel subscribers pay creators directly for extra chat features. The last change comes after BuzzFeed reported that the paid commenting system had been used to fund creators of videos featuring racism and hate speech.

The changed policy goes into effect today, YouTube said, and enforcement will ramp up over the next several days.