YouTube is tightening its policies in an effort to limit the spread of “violent extremist content,” the Google-owned video sharing platform announced on its official blog on Tuesday.
Its hate speech policy now specifically prohibits 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,” such as those glorifying Nazi ideology.
Soon thereafter, the hashtag #VoxAdPocalypse began trending on Twitter.
On the same day as its broader announcement, YouTube took to Twitter to publicly declare it had suspended monetization for conservative commentator and comedic television show host Steven Crowder’s channel, alleging a “pattern of egregious actions has harmed the broader community and is against our YouTube Partner Program policies.”
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
YouTube announced its decision in a thread started by Carlos Maza, a Vox host who had reported Crowder’s content. Maza alleges that Crowder harassed him for two years based on Maza’s sexual orientation and ethnicity.
In a four-part tweet the day before, YouTube explained its decision to permit Crowder’s videos despite their “clearly hurtful” language because they did not violate the platform’s policies, adding in the final tweet that they were still in the process of evaluating “other aspects” of the channel.
Further confusing matters, YouTube today tweeted to Maza that monetization of Crowder’s channel could be reinstated if he removed links to T-shirts Maza said were emblazoned with “Socialism Is For Fags” and were sold to “millions of loyal customers.”
To clarify, in order to reinstate monetization on this channel, he will need to remove the link to his T-shirts.— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) June 5, 2019
Shortly after that, YouTube apologized for the confusion, and said Crowder had actually been demonetized due to “continued egregious actions that have harmed the broader community,” adding that Crowder must “address all of these issues with his channel” to be reinstated.
Maza’s Twitter handle is @gaywonk. His Twitter bio reads, in part, “Marxist pig. Tucker Carlson is a white supremacist.”
Response from conservative Twitter was swift and merciless.
“Okay, if this is the game now, let’s play. This nonsense works both ways. Please explain why it doesn’t harm the broader @YouTube community when Samantha Bee calls Ivanka Trump a ‘feckless c***,’ when Colbert calls Trump a ‘c***holster for Vladimir Putin,” said Daily Wire’s editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro, retweeting YouTube’s update on its Crowder decision.
Okay, if this is the game now, let's play. This nonsense works both ways. Please explain why it doesn't harm the broader @YouTube community when Samantha Bee calls Ivanka Trump a "feckless c***," when Colbert calls Trump a "c*** holster" for Vladimir Putin. https://t.co/6ecL2SKDTM— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) June 5, 2019
Retweeting Shapiro, Second Amendment advocate and television commentator Dana Loesch expressed skepticism regarding YouTube’s intent to apply its new policies fairly.
“Hey @YouTube,” she tweeted. “Does [Stephen] Colbert’s video skit of me getting shot violate your standards also or are you only specifically demonetizing conservatives?”
Crowder’s channel was not alone in its woes following implementation of YouTube’s new policies.
@MrAllsopHistory tweeted that his channel featuring historical clips for teachers and students was banned today, for reasons he believes may be based on about 10% of the videos containing Nazi material such as clips featuring propaganda speeches.
“I’m devastated to have this claim leveled against me,” he tweeted in part on Wednesday.
YouTube have banned me for 'hate speech', I think due to clips on Nazi policy featuring propaganda speeches by Nazi leaders. I'm devastated to have this claim levelled against me, and frustrated 15yrs of materials for #HistoryTeacher community have ended so abruptly.@TeamYouTube— Mr Allsop History (@MrAllsopHistory) June 5, 2019
As so many people are asking, this is the banned channel. It featured around 120 historical clips I collated for teachers and students, covering various aspects of world history over the past 1000 years. The Nazi material made up around 10% of all videos. https://t.co/9LLVkuTGEq— Mr Allsop History (@MrAllsopHistory) June 5, 2019
@FordFischer tweeted that his channel which documents activism and extremism was also demonetized in the midst of YouTube’s purging efforts. Fischer’s Twitter bio describes him as an independent journalist whose footage appears in multiple, award-winning documentaries, including “White Right: Meeting the Enemy.”
“Youtube is providing cover for the very people they claim to be combatting when they cast a wide net that removes every kind of content creator."
"When Youtube demonetizes @scrowder and I in the same purge, they create a false equivalence,” he added.
Youtube is providing cover for the very people they claim to be combatting when they cast a wide net that removes every kind of content creator.— Ford Fischer (@FordFischer) June 5, 2019
When Youtube demonetizes @scrowder and I in the same purge, they create a false equivalence. https://t.co/dPkmKhCDKC
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