While Twitter is at least removing checkmarks and suspending accounts of white supremacists and neo-Nazis, YouTube is still making excuses for violent, hate-mongering extremist groups and says it does not plan to take them down any time soon.
One of the most notable hate groups is "Atomwaffen Division," which has been linked to five murders in the past eight months. Most recently, the killing of a gay, Jewish teenager by one of the group’s members, Samuel Woodward, has generated a lot of praise by similarly depraved people on its chat. The group also posted videos, calling out to “gas the ki**s” and starting a “race war, now.”
Despite the fact that users have reported these videos, the channel remains active on YouTube as of Tuesday. YouTube is aware of the appalling content but has taken only the bare minimum of measures, by only removing certain features like the recommended video and the “like” button.
“We announced last June that we would be taking a tougher stance on videos that are borderline against our policies on hate speech and violent extremism by putting them behind a warning interstitial and removing certain features, such as recommended videos and likes,” a YouTube spokesperson told The Daily Beast. “We believe this approach strikes a good balance between allowing free expression and limiting affected videos’ ability to be widely promoted on YouTube.”
YouTube’s decision is a blatant disregard of its own hate speech policy that bans “content that promotes violence against or has the primary purpose of inciting hatred against individuals or groups based on certain attributes, such as: race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, sexual orientation/gender identity.”
The definition fits Atomwaffen, which literally translates to “nuclear weapon” and promotes genocide, very well. Yet, when users pointed this out, YouTube insisted it will not block the channel.
The social media channel also said it would not take stricter action against a channel, managed by the Traditionalist Worker Party, whose account tells followers to work “against the international Jew.” The group members were at the center of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The event ended in tragedy when a neo-Nazi ran his car over a group of protesters and killed a young paralegal.
Moreover, even though YouTube says it has removed recommended videos on Atomwaffen’s media, the group’s homepage automatically recommends other neo-Nazis in under a “related channels” banner. As for the Traditionalist Worker Party, the recommended videos still show up in its clips. Both groups also have a link to their other online websites on YouTube, where users are given the option to join them.
In December, the Traditionalist Worker Party was banned by Twitter. Atomwaffen advises its members to keep the group off online platforms altogether and does not have an account on Twitter.
Banner/Thumbnail credit: Reuters