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YouTube bans supremacist content, limits borderline videos

By Danielle Haynes
YouTube said it also plans to lift up authoritative content. File Photo by John G. Mabanglo/EPA-EFE
YouTube said it also plans to lift up authoritative content. File Photo by John G. Mabanglo/EPA-EFE

June 5 (UPI) -- YouTube announced Wednesday new efforts to limit discriminatory and phony content by removing more extremist channels and rewarding more trusted creators.

The platform said it is furthering its crackdown on "harmful" and "violent extremist" content through a number of new policy changes after consulting with experts in extremism, supremacism and free speech.

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"The openness of YouTube's platform has helped creativity and access to information thrive," the company said in a blog post. "It's our responsibility to protect that, and prevent our platform from being used to incite hatred, harassment, discrimination and violence."

In 2017, YouTube tried to limit views of supremacist content by not allowing the videos to be shared and curtailing comments and recommendations. On Wednesday, the company said it will ban any video that says any one group is better than another or suggests segregation based on qualities like age, gender, race, caste, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status.

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YouTube said it also will ban content that denies well-documented historical events like the Holocaust and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Additionally, YouTube said it plans to curtail the spread of video content that "comes right up to the line" on its policies such as videos suggesting miracle cures or suggesting the Earth is flat. The company said it piloted a version of this change in January and found that the number of views the content gets from recommendations dropped by 50 percent under the new policy.

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Such videos will also include recommendations from more authoritative content such as news channels.

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YouTube already prevents monetary advertising on videos that include hate speech, but going forward, the company plans to suspend channels that "repeatedly brush up against our hate speech policies."

YouTube said efforts in recent years to crack down on hate speech and other extremist content has led to an 80 percent drop in views on such videos.

In May 2016, the company, along with Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft, signed a code of conduct formulated by the European Union to help fight the spread of hate speech.

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