new moderators, brought in to spot fake, misleading and extreme videos,
stumbled in one of their first major tests, getting caught removing
Conservative clips and channels in the midst of a nationwide debate on
Google division said in December it would assign more than 10,000 people
to moderate content after a year of scandals over fake and inappropriate
content on the world’s largest video site.
the wake of the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, some
YouTube moderators mistakenly removed several videos and some channels
from right-wing, pro-gun video producers and outlets.
YouTube channels recently complained about their accounts being pulled
entirely. On Wednesday, the Outline highlighted
including Titus Frost, that were banned from the video site. Frost tweeted
Wednesday that a survivor of the shooting, David Hogg, is an actor.
Jerome Corsi of right-wing conspiracy website Infowars said
Tuesday that YouTube had taken down one of his videos and disabled his
entire channels would have marked a sweeping policy change for YouTube,
which typically only removes channels in extreme circumstances and
focuses most disciplinary action on specific videos. But YouTube said
some content was taken down by mistake. The site didn’t address specific
cases and it’s unclear if it meant to take action on the accounts of
Frost and Corsi.
we work to hire rapidly and ramp up our policy enforcement teams
throughout 2018, newer members may misapply some of our policies
resulting in mistaken removals," a YouTube spokeswoman wrote in an
email. "We’re continuing to enforce our existing policies regarding
harmful and dangerous content, they have not changed. We’ll reinstate
any videos that were removed in error."
misstep pulls YouTube, Google and parent Alphabet
deeper into a toxic political fights over
gun control, fake and extreme content, and whether internet companies
should be responsible for what third parties post on their services. The
episode also shows how the huge video site continues to struggle with
policing the service and how difficult it is to spot troubling content
and decide whether the material should be taken down.
reform calls since the shooting have sparked a rash of conspiracy
theories on the web about the student activists. YouTube was criticized
last week after promoting a video with a title that suggested Hogg,
the teen survivor of the Florida school shooting, was a paid actor. The
clip contained footage from an authoritative news source, leading
YouTube’s software-based screening system to misclassify it. After
YouTube was alerted to the video, it was pulled.
the wake of the Florida shooting, Google and other internet companies
to remove the National Rifle
Association’s NRA TV channel from their video streaming services. To
date, YouTube and other services haven’t pulled the NRA’s official
official policy says that "harmful or dangerous" and "hateful" content
can violate its guidelines. If video creators break the rules three
times within three months, YouTube terminates the account.
Jones, who runs Infowars and has pushed conspiracy theories about school
shootings, is the most outspoken self-proclaimed victim of YouTube. He
said this week that YouTube told him his account faces two strikes. On
Tuesday, an Infowars article stated that Google was "purging
conservative media," claiming that "CNN and other news outlets" were
lobbying Google to terminate the Infowars channel.