YouTube says it will take down neo-Nazi and other extremist videos

Video platform sets new policies to 'limit the spread of violent extremist content'

A YouTube sign is displayed at the YouTube Space LA venue in Los Angeles on Feb. 28, 2017. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Patrick T. Fallon.
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YouTube said Wednesday that it is launching a new campaign to rid its site of extremist political and personal videos, such as those promoting white supremacy and neo-Nazism, as the video publishing platform seeks to crack down on hate speech.

YouTube, which is owned by Google, laid out the guidelines of its latest crackdown in a company blog post. No specific video producers or channels were named, but YouTube said that “videos that promote or glorify Nazi ideology” would be targeted under the new policies.

“(We are) 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,” YouTube said in announcing its latest effort to police content on its site. The company added that it would also begin removing videos that deny that violent events like the Holocaust and the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

YouTube said it would begin enforcing the new video policies on Wednesday, but the size of the issue means that “it will take time for our systems to fully ramp up and we’ll be gradually expanding coverage over the next several months.”

The size of YouTube speaks to the scale of the task at hand for the company. Approximately 1.3 billion people around the globe use YouTube, and more than 5 billion videos are watched on the site each day. It’s also estimated that 300 to 500 new videos are uploaded onto YouTube every minute.

YouTube’s latest move against hate speech comes one day after the company determined that videos posted by conservative YouTuber Steven Crowder, in which he used racial and homophobic language to described Vox writer Carlos Maza, didn’t violate YouTube’s policy usage terms. A report this week from the New York Times also described the proliferation of home videos that include images of children in swimsuits as a “buffet” for pedophiles.

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