Supporters of the National Socialist Movement, a white nationalist political group, give Nazi salutes while taking part in a swastika burning at an undisclosed location in Georgia, US on April 21, 2018. (photo credit: GO NAKAMURA/REUTERS)
SAN FRANCISCO – YouTube said on Wednesday it would remove videos that deny the Holocaust and other “well-documented violent events,” a major reversal in policy as it fights criticism that it provides a platform to hate speech and harassment.
The streaming service, owned by Alphabet Inc’s Google, also said it would remove videos that glorify Nazi ideology or that promote groups that claim superiority to others to justify several forms of discrimination. In addition, video creators that repeatedly brush up against YouTube’s hate speech policies, even without violating them, will now have their accounts shut down, a spokesman said.
In a blog post, YouTube acknowledged the new policies could hurt researchers who seek out these videos “to understand hate in order to combat it.” The policies also could frustrate free speech advocates who say hate speech should not be censored.
Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, which researches antisemitism, said it had provided input to YouTube on the policy change. “While this is an important step forward, this move alone is insufficient and must be followed by many more changes from YouTube and other tech companies to adequately counter the scourge of online hate and extremism,” Greenblatt said in a statement.