YouTube Removes Content and Channels for Using Hate Speech

Laura BednarCybersecurityLeave a Comment

YouTube Removes Harmful Content

After changing community guidelines to ban videos that promote violence and discrimination, YouTube has removed over 100,000 videos and 17,000 channels in just the second quarter of 2019. This is five times higher than last quarter and also includes the removal of over 500 million comments.

Silencing the Haters

After many complaints of discrimination and violence, YouTube created rules that eliminate videos that promote physical harm or encourage people to partake in illegal activities. Some examples include:

  • Dangerous challenges or threatening pranks
  • Instructions to kill or harm
  • Drug use or creation
  • Violent events such as live shootings
  • Instructional hacking or phishing
  • Emotional harm or illegal activities involving minors

As promised, YouTube has removed the content that falls into these categories. The only exception stated on their support page is if the poster is a first-time offender. In this case, they will receive a warning without penalty to their channel.

The process for removing harmful content involves machine learning that catches videos before they become widely available. The machines use digital fingerprints to find copies of known prohibited content ahead of it being made public. They also find similar content to videos that have already been removed which helps in removing spam and adult content. While it may help with hate speech, a real person is required to understand a comment that has been made.

A Video Removed is a Moral Point Gained?

More than 80% of the auto-flagged videos were removed without any views in quarter 2. Across Google, there are reportedly 10,000 people whose job it is to detect, review, and remove content that violates the site’s guidelines. The YouTube CEO, Susan Wojcicki stated in a blog that a commitment to having an open site sometimes means leaving up content that is outside the mainstream and may even be offensive. She claims that having these perspectives makes for a more informed society even if people disagree with the views.

The U.S. Anti-Defamation League reported that some of the videos that were found to be untouched promoted antisemitism and white supremacy. While the new guidelines have been successful in removing spam, child abuse, and terrorist videos on YouTube, there is still some subject matter that people believe should be removed.

Worldwide Violence Censorship

Areas throughout the globe have already begun to ban extremist content. Australia and New Zealand have decided to more closely monitor social media and block domains that show extremist or terrorist content. The eSafety Commissioner and internet service providers, in this case, determine what is considered violent.

In China, residents are banned from using Twitter while the government has been promoting tweets about recent protests in Hong Kong. In Russia, the government has told YouTube to stop promoting videos of protests and law enforcement physically removing residents from the crowds. In each of these situations, a few people in important positions have determined what is fit for online consumption.

In the case of YouTube, the 10,000 people across Google add some variety to the content viewing, though the majority of the video and channel shut downs results from artificial intelligence. While the removal of violent and illegal content may be positive for society, a line between protection and free speech can become an issue. YouTube has a policy regarding harassment in the works to add to their policy, though remaining videos in question may not fall into this category.

Protection and Data Rights

With censorship as a popular topic, so comes the concern for adequate protection of our digital lives. Secure Data Recovery follows the strictest security protocols when dealing with your damaged media in the recovery process. We protect your information from the device reaches our lab until the data is back in your hands. Our Secure Forensics team will investigate cybercrimes and end data breaches, remove malware, and can determine if your device has been hacked. To learn more about our data security solutions, call 1-800-388-1266.