YouTube to delete thousands of accounts it considers ‘harmful’

Going forward, YouTube will start displaying notices below videos uploaded by state-funded broadcasters
Going forward, YouTube will start displaying notices below videos uploaded by state-funded broadcasters

YouTube decided to delete thousands of accounts after banning “supremacists”, conspiracy theorists and other harmful accounts.

The decision was made after an extensive review of its rules on hateful content, YouTube said. While it has always banned hate content in general, the site has allowed some specific kinds of harmful videos – such as those promoting Nazi ideology or claiming 9/11 did not happen – to continue being hosted on the site.

Those videos, as well as other kinds of “supremacist” content, will now be officially banned.

“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,” it wrote in a blog post.

That is expected to lead to the removal of thousands of accounts as it goes into place, though that could take some time. “We will begin enforcing this updated policy today; however, it will take time for our systems to fully ramp up and we’ll be gradually expanding coverage over the next several months,” its announcement read.

However, some of the content falling under YouTube’s ban stick comes with tangible evidence proving certain events did not happen the way mainstream media says they have.

YouTube said some of those accounts are useful to researchers, and said it would try and work on ways of making sure they stay available. It also said the change would not affect videos that are discussing “pending legislation, aim to condemn or expose hate, or provide analysis of current events”.

The change comes on the same day as the company said it would NOT remove videos in which one of its stars attacked another user over his sexuality, using a series of anti-gay slurs. Strangely, the company now explicitly bans videos that encourage discrimination or segregation based on sexuality, but made no reference to that high-profile case in its blog post, and did not say that it would change its position.

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