YouTube has announced plans to tackle the thousands of videos and channels that support Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists, and other bigoted ideological groups that run rampant on their service. The move comes on the heels of criticism the platform received yesterday, after it declined to take action against prominent right-wing commentator Steven Crowder for comments he had made about Vox journalist Carlos Maza in a video on the site, in which Crowder referred to Maza as a “lispy queer.”
However, since the announcement, YouTube has reversed position on Crowder, temporarily demonetizing his content until he removes links from his channel that redirect to a website selling T-shirts that read “Socialism Is For F*gs.” A move Maza argues on his Twitter isn’t enough and fails to address both his initial complaint and what Maza sees as the real issue at hand, YouTube itself.
YouTube’s new policy is meant to target “videos alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion” but YouTube declined to name any current specific channels or videos that would be banned or affected in their blog post on the matter.
The New York Times reports that by Wednesday afternoon, numerous far-right content creators had already begun complaining about videos that had been deleted or stripped of monetization.
“It’s our responsibility to protect.. and prevent our platform from being used to incite hatred, harassment, discrimination, and violence,” the company said in a blog post.
YouTube doesn’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to policing itself and removing videos based on certain words is tricky business. Within minutes of YouTube’s purge, they had already demonetized independent journalist Ford Fischer’s entire channel.
Fischer’s work has appeared in numerous Oscar and Emmy-winning documentaries, and his channel News2Share focuses primarily on objective on-the-street reporting. However, it often shows nazis and those using hate speech getting confronted over their bigotry and was therefore flagged. Clearly, this is going to be a complex issue for YouTube to master, but doing so is vital to the platform’s longevity.