Forget Free Speech: YouTube Closes Right-Wing Channels, Silences Libertarians Featured

Written by | June 30, 2020 10:45 AM

YouTube has removed the channels of some of the leading figures of white supremacism.

The bans include channels run by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, and Richard Spencer, the inventor of the term "alt-right", political Libertarian groups and pure and people who have websites promoting Trump’s candidacy that disseminates ‘fake-news’.

It was not clear if YouTube would sanction editorials as they have in the past, claiming Fake News, but it was clear that the Google owned company is only going after voices that do not meet progressive values and standards.

With the increased mobilization of Black Lives Matter, the cleanup continues on the main internet platforms to the detriment of the most extreme voices of the American right.

Four other channels were also removed from YouTube, belonging to the National Policy Institute, Spencer's think tank, White Supremacy publications American Renaissance and AmRenPodcasts and the Canadian Stephan Molyneux, another of the most popular YouTubers of the alt-right universe.

"We have strict policies against hatred messages on YouTube and we close every channel that violates them in a repeated and heavy way," said the company that, like Reddit, has recently updated its guidelines to counter white supremacy, and avoid ending up in the crosshairs like Facebook.”

"We've seen removals increase five times since the update and removed more than 25,000 channels to violate our hate speech policy," a company spokesman told TechCrunch.

Among the illustrious victims of YouTube's toughest line against the ultra-right there was also, a few weeks ago, Gavin McInnes, former founder of the Vice portal.

After long insisting that some right-wing channels were within the rules provided they didn’t directly call for violence, YouTube began rewriting its guidelines in 2019 after pressure from the progressive left.

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In June of that year, the company changed its hate speech policy to specifically prohibit “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”.

Those changes came after the site had already taken action against high-profile users who had been careless enough to cross the line. Alex Jones, host of InfoWars, was removed from the site in 2018.

Despite the changes, it took more than a year for the policy to result in the removal of the site’s most high-profile supremacists, while other notorious figures remain active on YouTube.

EDL co-founder Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, known as Tommy Robinson, was “restricted” on the site in 2019, but is still able to upload videos for pre-existing subscribers, though his account is removed from search results.

The company’s action came the day after Twitch and Reddit both made surprise moves themselves. Reddit deleted more than 2,000 subreddits for repeated rules violations, including The_Donald, the notorious home of the US president’s most ardent fanbase.

“To be clear, views across the political spectrum are allowed on Reddit – but all communities must work within our policies and do so in good faith, without exception,” the company’s CEO, Steve Huffman, wrote in a post announcing the policy change.

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