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YouTube bans videos with ‘malicious insults and veiled threats’ in hate policy update

Will Google police hate speech on YouTube?
WATCH ABOVE (March 2017): Will Google police hate speech on YouTube?

YouTube says it will ban videos that “maliciously insult” a person based on their sexuality, race or gender, as well as videos that imply violence or threats toward an individual.

The announcement, which was revealed through YouTube’s official blog Wednesday, will be an update to its existing harassment and hate speech policy.

READ MORE: YouTube declines to ban vlogger using anti-LGBTQ2 slurs

YouTube said that content uploaded from everyone on the platform, including private individuals, creators and public officials, will be subject to the update.

“Harassment hurts our community by making people less inclined to share their opinions and engage with each other,” the company said. “We heard this time and again from creators, including those who met with us during the development of this policy update.”

A Montreal man is one of eight people launching a class action lawsuit against YouTube in the U.S.
A Montreal man is one of eight people launching a class action lawsuit against YouTube in the U.S.

The consequences of repeatedly violating the policy include creators having their advertising revenue restricted, their videos deleted or even having their channel shut down.

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The update comes after an announcement from the company in June, aimed at tackling hate and extremist speech.

Both of this year’s policy updates come after an intense backlash against YouTube after it found that content posted by a right-wing YouTuber was “hurtful” but did not violate any of the platform’s policies.

READ MORE: YouTube bans neo-Nazis and videos that deny ‘well-documented violent events’

In a series of tweets in May, former Vox journalist Carlos Maza called out the site’s previous policies and accused YouTube of not doing enough to tackle hate speech after he faced repeated homophobic and racist abuse from YouTube creator Steven Crowder and his watchers.

Maza also claimed that his personal information was released publicly, or “doxxed”, resulting in a flood of hate-fuelled texts and harassment to his private phone.

READ MORE: YouTube says violent Trump video doesn’t violate terms of service

Neither Maza nor YouTube have responded to Global News’ request for comment.

Maza did, however, take to Twitter earlier Wednesday to say he was skeptical of YouTube’s new rules.

“My reaction to YouTube’s policy is extreme skepticism: ‘Malicious insults were already prohibited under YouTube’s anti-hate and anti-harassment policies,” wrote Maza.

“YouTube rolls out policies like this to distract reporters from the real story: YouTube’s non-enforcement.”

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He said that even if YouTube prevented monetization of channels that champion hate, it would still be allowing users like Crowder a public platform that could be used to seek revenue through other means, such as merchandise sales or donations.

YouTube’s previous harassment policy included banning videos that contained explicit threats of violence, revealed someone’s personal information as well as bullying someone based on their appearance.

READ MORE: LGBTQ YouTubers say their videos are being unfairly blocked

 

Neal Mohan, YouTube’s chief product officer, told BBC News that individual complaints would be judged on a case-by case basis by looking at the context of each video.

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“Even if a single video doesn’t cross the line, with our new harassment policy we can take a pattern of behaviour into account for enforcement,” said Mohan.

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david.lao@globalnews.ca