YouTube announced on Wednesday that it will remove extremist content on its platform, including neo-Nazi videos and other white nationalist propaganda.
“Today, we’re taking another step in our hate speech policy by 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,” YouTube said in a blog post. “This would include, for example, videos that promote or glorify Nazi ideology, which is inherently discriminatory.”
The video giant made the announcement after coming under fire for refusing to suspend Steven Crowder, a far-right YouTuber with 3.8 million subscribers who regularly smears Vox reporter Carlos Maza as an “anchor baby” and “lispy queer” on his channel.
Maza posted a series of tweets last week about the harassment he gets from Crowder’s followers and YouTube’s failure to take action against it.
“I’m fucking pissed at @YouTube, which claims to support its LGBT creators, and has explicit policies against harassment and bullying,” Maza tweeted. “This has been going on for years, and I’ve tried to flag this shit on several occasions. But YouTube is never going to actually enforce its policies. Because Crowder has 3 million YouTube subscribers, and enforcing their rules would get them accused on [sic] anti-conservative bias.”
YouTube’s Twitter account responded to Maza’s tweets on Tuesday after his thread went viral, telling him that Crowder’s videos don’t violate the platform’s cyberbullying policy even though the language was “clearly hurtful.”
“As an open platform, it’s crucial for us to allow everyone-from creators to journalists to late-night TV hosts-to express their opinions w/in the scope of our policies,” YouTube tweeted. “Opinions can be deeply offensive, but if they don’t violate our policies, they’ll remain on our site.”
The response fueled more anger from critics, who pointed out the hypocrisy of YouTube celebrating Pride Month on social media while refusing to crack down on homophobic harassment.
The Anti-Defamation League applauded the move but said YouTube needed to do more.
“While this is an important step forward, this move alone is insufficient and must be followed by many more changes from YouTube and other tech companies to adequately counter the scourge of online hate and extremism,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.
Maza called the new policy “a shiny prop.”
“Ask yourself this: if @YouTube has actually been enforcing its policies against hate speech and bullying, why does it need an additional policy for supremacist content?” Maza tweeted. “Isn’t that already included?”
Ask yourself this: if @YouTube has actually been enforcing its policies against hate speech and bullying, why does it need an additional policy for supremacist content? Isn't that already included?
It's all a smokescreen. They don't enforce any of this shit. Don't fall for it.
— Carlos Maza (@gaywonk) June 5, 2019
Later on Wednesday, YouTube announced that it had demonetized Crowder’s channel because “a pattern of egregious actions has harmed the broader community and is against our YouTube Partner Program policies.”
Ironically, YouTube has gotten in trouble for demonetizing videos by LGBT creators by filtering them as adult or sexual content.
Edit: This story has been updated with YouTube’s announcement about Crowder’s channel.