YouTube to ban Holocaust denying and Nazi content

The video-sharing platform said it will crack down on hate speech

FILE - This March 20, 2018 file photo shows the YouTube app on an iPad in Baltimore. YouTube is updating its hate speech policies to prohibit videos with white supremacist and neo-Nazi content. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
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YouTube will ban videos that promote racism and discrimination or cast doubt on well-documented violent events like the Holocaust, the company said on Wednesday.

The new policy will prohibit "videos alleging that a group is superior to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion based on qualities like age, gender, race, caste, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status," the company said.

Although it did not name any specific channels or videos that would be banned, numerous far-right creators began complaining that their videos had been deleted or stripped of advertising.

YouTube was criticised in the past for not cracking down on revenue-generating content that promotes hatred and extremism. Its algorithm is also accused of hardening individual views as it feeds content in loops on the basis of users’ preferences.

In January, the company vowed to crack down on extreme content but stopped short of banning videos, saying they would still be accessible by those who had a link or who subscribe to the channel.

Last year, some of YouTube's most popular stars criticised the website for "experimenting" with how their videos are delivered to their fans and questioned whether YouTube manipulates the list to boost viewer retention and advertising revenue.

YouTube’s move came on the same day as a memorial ceremony in Portsmouth, England, marking the anniversary of the operation that began the liberation of Nazi-occupied France in 1944.

The decision by the company, which is owned by Google, is the latest action by Silicon Valley to stem the spread of hate speech and disinformation. A month ago, Facebook banned seven of its most controversial users, including conspiracy theorist and founder of Infowars, Alex Jones.

US President Donald Trump and others have claimed that the giant tech platforms unfairly censor right-wing opinions.