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YouTube Has New Private Corner Reserved for Religious and Supremacist Videos

YouTube has officially revealed to the world how they will deal with videos that don’t violate any of its policies but still contain offensive religious and supremacist content: hide them and make sure they can’t make any money.

The news comes as a status report on the promises made by Google general counsel Kent Walker in a June Financial Times op-ed, which announced YouTube was taking several steps to inhibit extremist videos. These steps included investing in machine-learning technology to help identify videos associated with terrorism, increasing the number of “Trusted Flaggers” to identify content that can be used to radicalize terrorists, and redirecting potential extremist recruits to watch counterterrorism videos instead.

In a post today, YouTube provided a better sense of what that means. Now, when YouTube decides that a flagged video doesn’t break policy but still contains “controversial religious or supremacist content,” the video will be put in a “limited state.” Here, the video will exist in a sort of limbo where it won’t be recommended or monetized. It also won’t include suggested videos or allow comments or likes.

This new approach will apply to desktop versions of YouTube within the next few weeks and on mobile soon after that.

Typically when YouTube removes a video, the video can easily be re-uploaded or a copy version can spread through different channels. More often than not, the video will obtain more attention and it encourages more people to watch and upload it in order to reach a wider audience. This is YouTube learning from its mistakes and preventing offensive spreading of content without the need for a full sensor.

Alternative media figures and conspiracy theorists have been saying that YouTube is manipulating algorithms in order to limit profit and outreach, and this announcement will add to the resentment felt by those who this apposes.
YouTube also announced today that it has added to the list of NGOs it is working with to help determine what content should be hidden. These organizations include the No Hate Speech Movement, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, and the Anti-Defamation League, which recently drew the ire of far-right outlets and pundits by publishing a list of alt right and “alt lite” personas.
According to YouTube, they said,
“These organizations bring expert knowledge of complex issues like hate speech, radicalization, and terrorism that will help us better identify content that is being used to radicalize and recruit extremists. We will also regularly consult these experts as we update our policies to reflect new trends.”
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