YouTube announced plans on Wednesday to remove thousands of videos and channels that advocate neo-Nazism, white supremacy and other bigoted ideologies in an attempt to clean up extremism and hate speech on its popular service.
The new policy will ban “videos alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion,” the company said in a blog post. The prohibition will also cover videos denying that violent events, like the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, took place.
YouTube did not name any specific channels or videos that would be banned. But on Wednesday, numerous far-right creators began complaining that their videos had been deleted, or had been stripped of ads, presumably a result of the new policy.
“It’s our responsibility to protect that, and prevent our platform from being used to incite hatred, harassment, discrimination and violence,” the blog post said.
The decision by YouTube, which is owned by Google, is the latest action by a Silicon Valley company to stem the spread of hate speech and disinformation on its site. A month ago, Facebook evicted seven of its most controversial users, including Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist and founder of Infowars.
Over 500 hours of new videos are uploaded to YouTube every minute — has made it difficult for the company to track rule violations. And the company’s historically lax approach to moderating extreme videos has led to a drumbeat of scandals, including accusations that the site has promoted disturbing videos to children and allowed extremist groups to organize on its platform. YouTube’s automated advertising system has paired offensive videos with ads from major corporations, prompting several advertisers to abandon the site.