YouTube bans prominent white supremacist channels

YouTube has banned some prominent channels of white supremacy, as internet companies face a negative reaction to racist content.

Google’s video platform said the channels violated its policies that prohibit hate speech.

In the past few days, social media companies have been boycotted by several major advertisers.

On Monday, Ford joined a growing list of global brands that paused advertising on social media during July.

In a statement, YouTube said, “We have strict policies that prohibit hate speech on YouTube and we have closed down any channel that repeatedly or flagrantly violates those policies.”

“After updating our guidelines to better address supremacist content, we saw a 5x increase in video removals and shut down more than 25,000 channels for violating our hate speech policies,” he added.

Channels that have been banned include some of the Internet’s most prominent far-right commentators:

  • Stefan Molyneux is a Canadian white nationalist activist known for his promotion of conspiracy theories.
  • Richard Spencer is an American white supremacist who coined the term “alt-right”.
  • David Duke is the former leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

On Twitter, Molyneux described the suspension of his channel as a “blatant error”.

Also on Twitter, Spencer said he would appeal the decision and called the suspension “a coordinated systemic effort”.

Separately, Amazon’s live video streaming site, Twitch has temporarily banned U.S. President Donald Trump, citing “hateful conduct” in his posts.

The company noted comments made at two rallies for the suspension.

At a 2016 campaign rally, which was recently relayed on Twitch, Trump said Mexico was sending its bad actors, like rapists or drug dealers.

He also highlighted the president’s demonstration in Tulsa earlier this month, in which he told a fictional story about a home invasion by a “tough guy”.

Growing momentum

Meanwhile, the social media site Reddit closed down r / The_Donald, a forum that has long been a popular home for Donald Trump supporters, saying it violated the platform’s hate speech rules.

Also on Monday, automaker Ford became one of the latest global brands to announce that it would stop spending on social media advertising in July.

The company joins other family names, including Starbucks, Coca-Cola, Diageo and Unilever, who said they would suspend advertising on some social media platforms in response to the hate speech.

The ads follow the launch earlier this month of the Stop Hate For Profit campaign, which has described itself as “responding to Facebook’s long history of allowing racist, violent and verifiably fake content to run rampant on its platform”.

In response to the campaign, Facebook said, “We are taking steps to review our policies, ensure diversity and transparency when making decisions about how we apply our policies and promote racial justice and voter engagement on our platform.”

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