By Emma Fiala
Wednesday morning, news began circulating warning that YouTube was about to delete thousands of accounts in the platform’s latest wave of censorship. This time, the massive video sharing platform claimed to be targeting hateful content, “supremacists,” conspiracy theorists and anything that promotes discrimination or segregation based on sexual orientation, religion, race, gender, age and more.
Upon hearing the news, regular consumers of independent media knew exactly what to expect: Censorship. Corporate platforms use these vague terms that sound nice in theory to cast a wide net that also de-platforms independent, anti-war, and rational voices. Whether this is done on purpose or is a consequence of using artificial intelligence and algorithms to monitor content remains to be seen.
Youtube is about to do a purge. What do you think?https://t.co/QeLAmN2VAJ
— Ford Fischer (@FordFischer) June 5, 2019
YouTube claims to have made the decision following a review of its own rules on hateful content. In a blog post, the platform wrote:
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.
The announcement continued:
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.
YouTube’s blog post continued:
The openness of YouTube’s platform has helped creativity and access to information thrive. It’s our responsibility to protect that, and prevent our platform from being used to incite hatred, harassment, discrimination and violence.
We are committed to taking the steps needed to live up to this responsibility today, tomorrow and in the years to come.
According to YouTube, users should anticipate changes that will alter what content is populated in the “up next” sidebar and the ability for users to earn ad revenue by promoting harmful content.