YouTube has updated its policies to ban channels promoting supremacy and hate speech saying that it would remove 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.”
This will likely result in the removal of thousands of accounts, including those from neo-Nazis and others who push hateful speech and rhetoric on the platform. Youtube says it’s also cracking down on “borderline content.” These are videos that don’t violate the company’s rules outright, but kind of teeter on the line of what is acceptable.
Another update from Youtube, and possibly the most important, is the decision to demonetize pages of users who violate its hate speech policy. For a lot of Youtubers, the platform is their main source of cash, removing that option for those who use racist, sexist, or homophobic language could be a game changer.
The policy updates come a day after the company decided to keep right-wing commentator Steven Crowder’s account up, a move that blurred the lines on what is acceptable on the platform. The company initially said it would not remove Crowder’s videos or account after being reported for homophobic and racist rhetoric against journalist Carlos Maza. Hours after it announced its new policies, the company stopped Crowder from monetizing his page.
“We have suspended this channel’s monetization. We came to this decision because a pattern of egregious actions has harmed the broader community and is against our YouTube Partner Program policies,” said in tweet to Maza.
Maza is a reporter for Vox and says that he has been targeted multiple times by Crowder and his followers. Crowder has more than 3.8 million subscribers on his YouTube channel. Maza said the Youtuber posted his phone number online last year, leading many of his followers to text Maza “debate steve crowder” at the same time.
Maza gave his thoughts on the news in a series of tweets. He says that Youtube’s problems go beyond one user and demonitization.
Maza went on to say that the new policy will carry little weight, since Youtube doesn’t really take action on pages that participate in harassment and hate speech.
For a while, Youtube went largely unscathed while tech giants like Facebook and Twitter were under fire for misinformation and hate speech festering on their platforms. Now, Youtube is front and center, and users will be watching to see if any of their new policies have teeth.