In an about-face, YouTube announced it would start removing channels promoting extreme views. This included reversing a decision about right-wing commentator Steven Crowder.
The video platform has recently received a slew of criticism for its handling of the Crowder situation.
It all began when YouTube announced an investigation into Crowder after journalist Carlos Maza claimed Crowder was targeting him with racist and homophobic harassment.
A few days later, YouTube said Crowder’s videos did not violate its harassment policies.
All of that changed on Wednesday (5 June) with a new policy change from the company.
YouTube bans extremism
The company said in a blog post it would be banning video ‘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 would include, for example, videos that promote or glorify Nazi ideology, which is inherently discriminatory,’ the post continued.
‘Finally, we will remove content denying that well-documented violent events, like the Holocaust or the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, took place.’
While they did not name any specific channels, numerous right-wing people reportedly began complaining their videos had been deleted, according to the New York Times.
Crowder was one of the casualties of this policy change.
YouTube updated its Twitter thread about Crowder, writing its management decided to suspend the channel’s monetization.
Update on our continued review–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. More here: https://t.co/VmOce5nbGy
— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) June 5, 2019
‘We came to this decision because a pattern of egregious actions has harmed the broader community and is against our YouTube Partner Program policies,’ the company wrote.
Google employees unhappy
YouTube is a subsidiary of Google, and employees of the parent company are reportedly pushing back against YouTube’s whisplashing decisions.
‘Not everyone will agree with the calls we make — some will say we haven’t done enough; others will say we’ve gone too far,’ YouTube said in an expanded statement on Crowder.
‘In the subsequent days, we saw the widespread harm to the YouTube community resulting from the ongoing pattern of egregious behavior, took a deeper look, and made the decision to suspend monetization,’ it said.
‘In order to be considered for reinstatement, all relevant issues with the channel need to be addressed, including any videos that violate our policies, as well as things like offensive merchandise.’
Despite the reversal, Google employees are starting to use the hashtag #NoPrideInYT on Twitter.
Sources told BuzzFeed News a petition began circulating within Google ‘demanding that management remove pride branding from its public social media accounts’. Employees reportedly find the Pride branding — things like rainbow logos — hypocritical in the face of YouTube’s handling of Crowder.