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

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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.

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.

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