MOUNTAIN VIEW (CBS SF) — YouTube announced Wednesday that it was updating its hate speech policies and prohibiting videos including those “that promote or glorify Nazi ideology.”
The Bay Area-based social media giant said in a blog post its updated hate speech policies would prohibit videos with white supremacist and neo-Nazi content.
“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 Bay Area-based social media giant said in a blog post.
YouTube was also banning videos that deny “well-documented violent events, like the Holocaust or the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, took place.”
But the company said the context of the videos will also be considered.
“And as always, context matters, so some videos could remain up because they discuss topics like pending legislation, aim to condemn or expose hate, or provide analysis of current events,” the blog posting read.
The changes come as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other online social media services face mounting concern that their platforms allow, and in some cases foster, extremism.
YouTube’s new policies will take effect immediately
“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 officials said in the post.
The company said it also sought to “reduce the spread of content that comes right up to the line.”
“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,” the posting said. “We’re looking to bring this updated system to more countries by the end of 2019.”
“Thanks to this change, the number of views this type of content gets from recommendations has dropped by over 50% in the U.S. Our systems are also getting smarter about what types of videos should get this treatment, and we’ll be able to apply it to even more borderline videos moving forward.”
Gabrielle Antolovich, president of the Billy DeFrank LGBTQ Community Center in San Jose, says YouTube had emboldened and “legitimized” hate speech by allowing the clips to stay online.
“When you continue to allow hate speech out there, more people will do it. If I’m a hater, and I see it on youtube, that gives mer permission to hate more,” said Antolovich.
The Anti-Defamation League called YouTube’s new policies “inadequate” and said the artificial intelligence used to detect more explicit content can miss subtle supremacist language “couched in dogwhistles.”
“It’s impossible to verify claims when platforms like YouTube say they’re taking steps to remove content. They should transparently provide tools and data that allow independent, external auditing of these policy changes and their efficacy,” said the ADL.