SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — A foul-mouthed, 14-year-old YouTube user who has grown popular with the far right has been banned from the online video site for using hate speech, according to company officials.
The teen goes by the name “Soph” on YouTube and has more than 800,000 followers.
The last video she uploaded before her account was shut down included a rant against the LGBTQ community. Other videos include anti-Muslim rhetoric.
YouTube confirmed to KPIX 5 it terminated the channel for violating its community guidelines on hate speech. The account accrued three strikes in a 90-day period, leading to the termination.
Her videos appear on an alternative site BitChute and Soph is still on Twitter. After her YouTube went down, she reportedly threatened YouTube’s headquarters with violence.
She later deleted the tweet, and said it wasn’t meant to be taken seriously.
“They also had to launch I guess a formal investigation against the satirical threats I made against the CEO of YouTube,” said Soph in an interview with Infowars, the website owned by far-right commentator and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. The clip was posted on her BitChute channel.
She stated that police looked into her threat.
“YouTube and law enforcement work closely together and they have to take those sorts of things seriously,” Soph said in the interview.
“Going forward we’re starting to see a lot of pressure on Facebook, on Twitter, on YouTube, to really start moderating their services,” said CNET News Editor-at-Large Ian Sherr. “And going in there and not just taking down the obvious stuff — terrorism, child pornography, all that type of stuff — to go the next step and to say this is hate speech.”
One of Soph’s videos also references manifestos that mass shooters have published.
KPIX 5 security analyst and former FBI special agent Jeff Harp noted that — in the current climate — law enforcement were bound to take threats seriously.
“You’re really taking a big chance if you want to exercise your first amendment right, you got to be careful about how you do that,” said Harp. “Because the FBI is going to take very seriously anything that you say that might be a threat to someone.”
YouTube also said that it updated its approach to hateful content earlier this year in consultation with experts in subjects like violent extremism, supremacism and free speech.
KPIX 5 reached out to Soph on Twitter but did not hear back Monday night.