YouTube says anti-homosexual slurs don't spoil its principles

YouTube says anti-homosexual slurs don't spoil its principles

The latest move assumes significance as digital platforms and social media companies have come under increased global scrutiny on issues like hate content, fake news and data privacy.

Conservative commentator and self-proclaimed comedian Steven Crowder has been engaged in a months long harassment campaign against Vox's Carlos Maza, and while both he and his employer reportedly reached out on several occasions regarding the situation, the company failed to act until he posted a compilation video of the abuse to Twitter.

YouTube has existed since 2005 and now, in 2019, it has finally made a decision to ban videos that promote Nazi ideology, or that claim 9/11 didn't happen.

YouTube says that the problem of hate speech is a "complex" one, and in drawing up new policies has engaged with experts in violent extremism, supremacism, civil rights and free speech. Maza said YouTube's action was insufficient.

Unrelated to Mr Maza's dispute with Mr Crowder, YouTube published a blog on Wednesday pronouncing it had up to this level its hate speech policy.

YouTube has been repeatedly criticised for its relatively lax approach towards various kinds of harmful content, including those on the far-right.

While supremacists and extremists will be purged from the platform, YouTube said it will also remove any content that challenges "well-documented violent events".

But the demonetization of Crowder was only one part of a much larger campaign by YouTube, which included demonetizing independent journalist Ford Fischer, banning a history teacher who posted Nazi propaganda speeches for educational use, and banning or demonetizing a wide variety of left-wing and right-wing channels.

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In its letter to Ford, YouTube said it found a significant portion of his channel was not in line with their Partner Program policies.

"Opinions can be deeply offensive, but if they don't violate our policies, they'll remain on our site", the platform tweeted.

However, after further review of Crowder's videos, YouTube made a decision to demonetize his channel, "because a pattern of egregious actions has harmed the broader community" and violates the YouTube Partner Program policies.

Maza complained on Twitter about Crowder's comments regarding his persona claiming Crowder engages in racist and homophobic hate speech, The Hill report says.

But today, in a blog post, the company announced that it is changing its community guidelines to ban videos promoting the superiority of any group as a justification for discrimination against others based on their age, gender, race, caste, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status. This also includes other monetization features on the platform, such as Super Chat, a way for creators to earn money directly from subscribers through live video chat functions.

But YouTube said later on Twitter it had suspended monetization of Crowder's channel, barring him from getting YouTube ad revenues.

YouTube did not disclose the names of any groups or channels that may be banned.

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