For years, Burzum founder and convicted murderer Varg Vikernes has been posting white supremacist content and peddling hate via his Thulean Perspective YouTube channel. That came to an end this afternoon: the channel has been deleted by YouTube as part of a sweeping new initiative.
YouTube announced today that it would be deleting thousands of videos and channels that advocate neo-Nazism, white supremacy and other bigoted ideologies, as well as those that deny well-documented violent events like the Holocaust. The decision comes after the video service has increasingly come under fire for not only allowing such content to be hosted on the surface, but for letting its recommendation engines actively push that content towards users.
In a post to the YouTube blog posted this afternoon, YouTube stated:
“Today, we’re taking another step in our hate speech policy by specifically prohibiting videos alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion based on qualities like age, gender, race, caste, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status. This would include, for example, videos that promote or glorify Nazi ideology, which is inherently discriminatory. Finally, we will remove content denying that well-documented violent events, like the Holocaust or the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, took place.”
Varg’s channel was deleted only hours after YouTube’s announcement.
According to the New York Times, a YouTube spokesman has said that content subject to the new ban will also include “videos that claim Jews secretly control the world, that say women are intellectually inferior to men and therefore should be denied certain rights, or that suggest that the white race is superior to another race.” Varg’s videos, which we have covered in the past on MetalSucks (much less in recent years so as not to give him a platform), check all of those boxes. In one such video he argued that white people should “appreciate and protect” their race, and another functioned as a how-to guide on “how to attract a good wife” using eugenics as backup for his argument. Elsewhere he shared his thoughts on the Muslim “migrant crisis” in Europe, and the idea that Jews control everything in the world via a secret conspiracy was a common theme in his rants. The list goes on.
YouTube also said it was taken measures to “to limit recommendations of borderline content and harmful misinformation, such as videos promoting a phony miracle cure for a serious illness, or claiming the earth is flat,” claiming U.S. traffic to such videos has dropped by 50% since certain measures were implemented in January. YouTube has also said it would reward “authoritative content” in recommendations, although it’s not clear exactly what qualifies for that designation.
The content that is being removed from the service will under certain circumstances be made available to researchers “looking to understand hate in order to combat it.”
Conservatives, white supremacists and those with bigoted ideologies of all kinds will surely cry “censorship” and complain about the loss of their “free speech” (even though their free speech is not being threatened at all). There can be no debate that this is the right decision by YouTube, though; for too long the platform (and others) has given those with hateful and blatantly inaccurate viewpoints a pass, and that ends today.
Thanks: Corey M.