Last Wednesday, YouTube announced its adoption of stronger measures to fight hateful content on the site. But these new policies seem to have stirred up controversy in a different way instead.
These new policies aimed to more assertively confront supremacist content on the site have some unwanted effects. Many creators have claimed that their videos and in some cases entire channels have been improperly removed. The leading argument is the new algorithm can’t differentiate between actual hate content and educational or journalistic content that documents these. It is claimed that videos that contain appearances from noted supremacists are also being removed. Independent journalist Ford Fischer’s entire channel was demonetized without notice or further instruction to appeal against it within minutes.
YouTube has refused to comment so far regarding the issue. Though it should be noted that videos are only flagged by the algorithm of YouTube for unsavoury content. The decision to demonetize or remove content lies in the hands of review teams employed by YouTube.
It is important to take measures to battle the increasing presence of hateful content on online platforms. But it is equally important to discern bigotry from documentation of bigotry. Battling hate begins with knowing about it and being aware of its facets. If sources of information regarding bigotry are swept under the rug in some vain attempt to deny its existence, it will simply persist in our ignorance. As it has for many centuries. YouTube must be held accountable for this event and must act swiftly to better its systems. Until then, watch your content.