June 5, 2019

YouTube has announced new policies it says will result in more hateful content being removed from its platform.

In a blog post on Wednesday, the company said it's updating its hate speech policies to specifically ban "videos alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion based on qualities like age, gender, race, caste, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status." As an example, any videos that "promote or glorify Nazi ideology" will now be removed, YouTube says.

Additionally, YouTube will remove videos denying the occurrence of "well-documented violent events," such as the Holocaust or the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. For videos that come "close" to violating these policies, YouTube says its system will "include more videos from authoritative sources" in the "watch next" panel. The new policies are expected to result in the removal of "thousands" of videos, The New York Times reports.

These updates come as YouTube has received some criticism for a decision on Tuesday not to take action against conservative commentator Steven Crowder for making racist and homophobic remarks about Vox host Carlos Maza in numerous videos, such as calling him an "angry little queer" and a "gay Mexican." YouTube in explaining its decision said that Crowder's videos "don't violate our policies," despite containing "language that was clearly hurtful." YouTube also said that "opinions can be deeply offensive, but if they don’t violate our policies, they'll remain on our site." Brendan Morrow

May 2, 2019

Several far-right personalities have just been permanently booted from Facebook.

The social media platform on Thursday said it had banned several "dangerous" extremist figures, including far-right figures Laura Loomer, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Paul Joseph Watson, in addition to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, CNN reports. Paul Nehlen, a white nationalist who ran for Congress in 2016 and 2018, was banned as well.

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones of Infowars was also hit with a permanent ban that applies to Instagram, which is owned by Facebook. Jones and Infowars had previously been banned from Facebook last year. Thursday's ban not only applies to Jones and Infowars itself but also prevents any Infowars content from being posted by anyone on Facebook or Instagram, The Atlantic reports.

Yiannopoulos had previously been banned from Twitter after targeting Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones with racist attacks, while Loomer received a ban for an attack on Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) that Twitter said violated its hate speech policies.

In a statement, Facebook said on Thursday that it has an "extensive" process for evaluating violators of its policies that ban "individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology," and that this is what led them to remove these accounts. Brendan Morrow

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