YouTube on Monday terminated accounts belonging to several prominent white supremacists as part of its crackdown on hate speech as more social media platforms move to combat the offensive content amid mounting criticism and pressure to take action.
The platform removed accounts belonging to Canadian far-right vlogger Stefan Molyneux, leading white nationalist figure Richard Spencer and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. It also banned channels associated with the white nationalist group American Renaissance and Spencer’s NPI/Radix account.
These accounts repeatedly or egregiously violated platform policies by alleging that members of protected groups were innately inferior to other peoples, according to YouTube. The platform said it has taken a more aggressive stance against white supremacist content since a June 2019 update to its hate speech policy.
“We have strict policies prohibiting hate speech on YouTube, and terminate any channel that repeatedly or egregiously violates those policies,“ a YouTube spokesperson told HuffPost in a statement. “After updating our guidelines to better address supremacist content, we saw a 5x spike in video removals and have terminated over 25,000 channels for violating our hate speech policies.”
Molyneux, a self-described philosopher who has amplified conspiracy theories about “white genocide” and peddled eugenics and white nationalist beliefs to hundreds of thousands of YouTube subscribers, tweeted that YouTube had “just suspended the largest philosophy conversation the world has ever known.” He was banned from using PayPal in 2019 and from using MailChimp to send his newsletter earlier this year.
And Spencer, who is facing a lawsuit that names him as an organizer of the violent 2017 “Unite the Right” white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, said he would “appeal the suspension.”
YouTube’s decision comes on the same day as major moves from two other tech platforms. Livestreaming platform Twitch suspended President Donald Trump’s account for hateful conduct due to comments he made in two recent streams. And Reddit, as part of its own crackdown on hate speech, purged thousands of subreddits, including prominent pro-Trump board r/The_Donald and a subreddit associated with “Chapo Trap House,” a far-left podcast that Reddit CEO Steve Huffman said consistently hosted rule-breaking content that was not reined in by moderators.