YouTube to wall off content it deems to have “controversial religious or supremacist content”

3 min read


YouTube’s really started cracking down on questionable content in the videos shared to its global service. They’ve removed the monetisation from things that it deems hateful, harmful, inciting or display egregious violence – much to the chagrin of gaming YouTubers whose videos feature violent video games.

They’ve sought to refine their policies, and they’re now pretty clear-cut about what will and won’t be allowed on the platform. If your videos are illegal, expect them to be binned. It’s a step to remove overt terrorism and extremist propaganda from the platform, but also a way to minimise online abuse and hatred.

Now, YouTube is taking further steps, and will be walling off content that might not be overtly illegal, but still contain questionable content.

“We’ll soon be applying tougher treatment to videos that aren’t illegal but have been flagged by users as potential violations of our policies on hate speech and violent extremism. If we find that these videos don’t violate our policies but contain controversial religious or supremacist content, they will be placed in a limited state”.

“The videos will remain on YouTube behind an interstitial, won’t be recommended, won’t be monetized, and won’t have key features including comments, suggested videos, and likes. We’ll begin to roll this new treatment out to videos on desktop versions of YouTube in the coming weeks, and will bring it to mobile experiences soon thereafter.”

When people search for content that has keywords relating to extremism or terrorism, they’ll be directed to playlists that confront radicalism, hopefully with logical thought and empathy. Hopefully, it’s a system that won’t be abused by spiteful people who just don’t want ideas that don’t coalesce with their to be shared.

“When people search for sensitive keywords on YouTube, they will be redirected towards a playlist of curated YouTube videos that directly confront and debunk violent extremist messages. We also continue to amplify YouTube voices speaking out against hate and radicalization through our YouTube Creators for Change program.”

On the one hand, I think it’s important that impressionable young people are given a complete view of the world to shape their own. Stamping out extremism and hatred is important – but the way it’s being done is also starting to feel a little heavy handed. I’m not sure it’s up to YouTube to decide what is and isn’t controversial religious practice.

Read  This trailer for The Road Movie documents the craziness found in Russian dash-cam footage

What do you think?

Last Updated: August 3, 2017

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I’m old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time – they were capable of being masterpieces. I’m here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • As long as they don’t delete the cat videos I am fine with it.

  • Skittle

    I get what they are trying to do but how long until people start flagging videos they don’t agree with? Censorship is a slippery slope.

    • BakedBagel

      Its happened already Jordan B Peterson, Professor from the Uni of Toronto, got his channel shut down on Monday, right before they announced these changes.

      Youtube’s “hero system” plus this is literally controlling what people upload on the website. And Ill put money down that in a few years, you will only have 1 side of an argument allowed on youtube.

      • Dresden

        Are you kidding me? I love his content and watch a lot if interviews held with him.

        If this is the case, YouTube should just clearly state their bias and report that they don’t believe in free speech.

        • BakedBagel

          It got restored, his entire google account was suspended, and or removed completely, from youtube channels to gmail accounts.

          It was removed and then restored with out an explination from youtube.

          I think it was a mass flagging, that youtube then over-turned once the outcry was loud enough

          • Dresden

            With damn good reason! They are messing with peoples livelihoods just because they aren’t conforming to their political agenda. Even Patreon has started banning some people that they don’t agree with.

            I mean sure, they have the right to do this, I just find it very disgusting and bigoted.

            Just glad to hear he has his channel back. His view on most topics are very neutral so they have no solid basis to ban.

    • Hammersteyn

      The worst part is they use an AI that uses a shotgun approach. COD videos can get flagged because it simulates violence.

  • Magoo

    I’m with you man. Not sure if it’s necessary. On one hand, even 7 year olds are browsing YouTube unsupervised these days. So I wouldn’t want my youngin’ stumbling on PewDiePie or any other “shock factor” tubers. But as for myself, I don’t want a cushioned experience with every 3rd video trying to make me a better person.

    • BakedBagel

      Youtube has a kids section for a reason my dude :/

      Ayyy whoever told parents that letting their kids free roam online, that all will be okay, is really not that smart.

    • Hammersteyn

      I wouldn’t let my 7 year old use the internet unsupervised. If I had one. Youtube is vanilla compared to what’s out there.

    • HvR

      That is why you have kid mode

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        I’ve been to Youtube. I use kid mode.

  • Hammersteyn

    What do you think?
    Pornhub filters nothing and allows everything, you can even upload Persona 5 videos while the devs threatens to DMCA content providers on Youtube.

    • BakedBagel

      AYYYYYYY Leakers use Pornhub for gaming leaks 😀 😀

      Whitehouse leak uploaded to Pornhub when?

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    I think this, and most of its clamp downs on videos, has more to do with Youtube not wanting to be sued than Youtube trying to dictate to you what you’re allowed to see.

    • HvR

      Except for screwed up countries like Germany, they can not really be sued due to public and publishing protection in most countries.

      This pandering to specific political block and media companies.

  • HvR

    The fact that the ADL is their main advisor on what is right and what is not should send up red flags galore.

    think it is time for a viable Youtube alternative

    • HvR

      For instance expect any videos of the Armenian genocide to be flag as false news since according to the ADL there was only one genocide in history.

  • miaau

    I sort of agree, Geoff.

    But if is is not up to Youtube, who hosts the content and has the power, who should be deciding what is objectionable material? How about a snuff flick? Well obvious, you say. A ritual where a goat is slaughtered, shown in graphic detail? Maybe also obvious?

    But then we have the Cambridge Choir singing Nearer my God to thee. Is that objectionable to the Jews and Muslims and Taoists and so forth? How about atheists?

    Man, this is a complicated issue. As a father, a damn good father, right?, I would not want my child to see, for a example, the goat ritual or the snuff flick. I would want to make sure she has the emotional maturity, the EQ and the IQ to understand and interpret the world for herself. SHE must be empowered, by her parents, to be able to understand right from wrong and to have a very moral code that SHE sticks to. Note, not necessarily my moral code. If she is exposed to certain content and viewpoints before she reaches a level where she can properly process it, I will not be happy. I think most fathers / mothers / guardians would agree.

    So, back to the parental control debate. I am extremely liberal and firmly believe that adults need to make up their own minds about MOST things. There are limits and certain lines need to drawn. The trick is to please most of the people, not all the people. But how?

    A voting system on Youtube? You see content and vote it moves to “locked” area, then all content from that poster is locked, with individual videos unlockable by an appeal process?

    • HvR

      I feel they had it properly covered with children mode (very strict content control and no comments)

      While still allowing other people to make more mature content and have it monetized. If you want to cash in on the huge childrens markets you had the adhere to the strict rules.

      But with the recent bans, takedowns and now these partnerships it is clear Youtube wants to align themselves with a certain political grouping. A huge broadcasting platforms that sells itself as independent but is effectively turned into a political propaganda platform IMHO is just if not more dangerous than ISIS recruitment videos

    • It really is complicated. As a parent, I don;t want my kids – who are now too old for kid mode, but still impressionable – to stumble on hateful garbage. But I also dont believe in censorshp – and it’s a slippery slope to Big Brother.

      • miaau


        Gives me a headache thinking about it……

      • miaau

        Hi Snowball, Hi, Napoleon. .

        Napoleon , can I make the bed for you?

        Can I bring you lunch?

        Yes, thank you. All pigs are equal, you know. Just some pigs are more equal than the others.

  • konfab

    They took down Jordan Peterson’s channel without no reason or justification given. There is not a single thing that he has said that can even come close to being hateful and bigoted. Yet if you are an Imam telling people to spread Islam by the sword and are being followed by radials around the world, apparently that Halaal by Youtube’s filtering algorithms.

    There is a distinct political glance to the current wave of censorship going on at Youtube. They will eventually just kill themselves as people will simply switch to a decentralized platform like LBRY.

  • Agreed, are are Christopher Hitchens videos to be banned because they offend Christians and Muslims? really now….

    Also I don’t see many quality gaming channels emerging or continuing if the videos can’t make moola. I mean jackfrags can’t get money off his BF videos, really!?

  • I think youtube can do what the heck they want with their own platform 😛

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