There’s a whole lot of trouble brewing on YouTube…again.
At the start of June 2019, Google’s massive video-sharing platform began demonetizing, censoring, or outright banning dozens of mostly right-leaning channels. Dubbed the “VoxAdpocalypse,” this is the latest in a long line of controversial demonetizing practices that have raised concerns over YouTube’s commitment to free speech.
This controversy began with a few Tweets from Vox political contributor Carlos Maza on June 4. In his Tweets, Maza said he repeatedly flagged videos on Steven Crowder’s channel over the years that he found deeply offensive.
In these videos, Crowder openly mocks Maza’s homosexuality and Mexican ethnicity. You can see a compilation of the clips in question on this link to Maza’s Twitter feed.
After reviewing the flagged content, YouTube officials decided that Steven Crowder’s videos did not violate the company’s Community Guidelines. In a statement to the press, YouTube explained that since Crowder did not “[instruct] his viewers to harass Maza on YouTube,” his videos could not be legally taken down.
In response to this decision, Maza wrote the following on Twitter, “I have spent two years getting targeted by racist and homophobic abuse from one of @YouTube’s star creators.” Maza also claimed that YouTube was “using” LGBT content creators and didn’t “give a f*** about protecting marginalized people.”
Shortly after Maza’s Tweets were released, members of the LGBT community rallied behind his case. Activists urged YouTube to take more drastic action against Crowder and others whom they believed were promoting “hate speech.”
On June 5, YouTube’s Chris Dale released a post on the company’s official blog entitled “Our ongoing work to tackle hate.” Although Dale reiterated Crowder’s channel couldn’t be taken down, he also said the company was reviewing monetization of certain channels that went against its anti-harassment standards.
In the post, Dale writes:
[I]n the subsequent days [following Maza’s Tweets], we saw the widespread harm to the YouTube community resulting from the ongoing pattern of egregious behavior, took a deeper look, and made the decision to suspend monetization. In order to be considered for reinstatement, all relevant issues with the channel need to be addressed, including any videos that violate our policies, as well as things like offensive merchandise.
After a call with YouTube executives, Crowder Tweeted: “Just spoke with YouTube. Confirmed, the second Adpocalypse IS here and they’re coming for you. More details to follow. Stay tuned.”
Since Crowder Tweeted this message on June 5, his channel has been completely demonetized and at least two of his previous videos have been banned. Crowder is also no longer allowed to sell his “Socialism is for f*gs” shirt via YouTube.
Besides Crowder’s channel, here are a few other YouTube content creators that have been either demonetized or banned since June 5th:
- The Great Order
- The Golden One
- Black Pigeon Speaks
- Red Ice TV
- Revenge of the Cis
- Martin Sellner
YouTube also said it will remove any content that promotes supremacist ideas and historical revisionism. Specifically, YouTube said it would remove videos that denied the Holocaust or the Sandy Hook School shooting.
Dozens of prominent content creators like Sargon of Akkad have criticized this latest move by YouTube. Indeed, Sargon of Akkad (aka Carl Benjamin) encouraged content creators to open secondary channels on websites like BitChute and Minds to avoid YouTube’s censorious policies.
In an opinion piece published in the Washington Examiner, Tom Rogan says YouTube’s decision will help “Nazis” rather than hurt them. As Rogan puts it: “YouTube…has a moral and social responsibility to the maximal exchange of information and ideas. History tells us that it is a bad idea to censor ideas most of us consider bad, Nazis included.”
One thing’s for sure: the “VoxAdpocalypse” will have huge repercussions in the ongoing debate over free speech online.
You can learn more about the “VoxAdpocalypse” by watching this interview with Carlos Maza on CNN. To see Crowder’s side of the story, watch this video he streamed immediately after his channel was demonetized.
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