Youtube announced Wednesday that it will prohibit videos that promote discrimination or segregation based on things like age, gender, race, caste, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status. The announcement comes just a day after the video platform was criticized for how it handles homophobic content. Thousands of channels are expected to be affected by the policy change shortly.
Last week, Vox host Carlos Maza wrote a viral Twitter thread describing the harassment he has been experiencing from far-right internet personality Steven Crowder and his followers.
Crowder has published a number videos mocking Maza, calling him a “lispy queer” and made other racist and anti-gay comments. Maza, who hosts the Vox show Strikethrough, said both he and Vox have directly reached out to YouTube for the past two years “and have gotten no action at all from them.”
On Tuesday, in a series of tweets, YouTube said that Crowder’s near-constant harassment of Maza did not violate their policies. It’s not yet clear whether Crowder’s account will be affected by today’s announcement.
YouTube’s announcement today identifies several kinds of videos that will now be prohibited on the platform. “This would include, for example, videos that promote or glorify Nazi ideology, which is inherently discriminatory. Finally, we will remove content denying that well-documented violent events, like the Holocaust or the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, took place,” YouTube’s post reads.
The post also said that the platform will be reducing what they call “borderline content.”
“In January, we piloted an update of our systems in the U.S. to limit recommendations of borderline content and harmful misinformation, such as videos promoting a phony miracle cure for a serious illness, or claiming the earth is flat,” YouTube’s post stated. “We’re looking to bring this updated system to more countries by the end of 2019.”
YouTube also said it would put restrictions on how channels monetize their videos.
“Channels that repeatedly brush up against our hate speech policies will be suspended from the YouTube Partner program, meaning they can’t run ads on their channel or use other monetization features like Super Chat,” the blog post reads.
Super Chat is a tool that lets channel subscribers pay creators directly for extra chat features. BuzzFeed News has previously reported on how the Super Chat feature has been used to fund extremist YouTube creators. Swedish White nationalist channel Red Ice TV were able to raise money using Super Chat as recently as April, when they livestreamed the House Judiciary Committee’s hearing about hate crimes the rise of white nationalism. At one point a user donated $100 and wrote, “This is nothing but the elites and globalists setting up laws that will be enacted in a single pen stroke against the white race in the future. I am also a person of interest for donating to Red Ice over the years and I don’t f**king care…”
YouTube said it also plans to make videos from authoritative sources appear higher up in its “Watch Next” panel.
YouTube estimates its policy change will lead to the removal of thousands of videos and channels, particularly ones that advocate for neo-Nazism and white supremacy.