Silhouettes of mobile device users are seen next to a screen projection of the Youtube logo in this picture illustration. Picture: Dado Ruvic/Reuters
YouTube said Wednesday it will remove false videos alleging that major events like the Holocaust didn't happen, as well as a broad array of content by white supremacists and others in a move to more aggressively crack down on hate speech.

The Google-owned video site, along with its Silicon Valley peers, is starting to take a broader view of hate speech in the face of criticism that it has failed to prevent the spread of harmful videos that distort world events, hurt children or promote discriminatory ideologies. On Tuesday, for instance, Vox Media called out YouTube for failing to remove homophobic and racist videos attacking one of its reporters.

While YouTube, which has over 1.8 billion daily users, has long prohibited videos that promote violence or hatred against people based on their age, religious beliefs, gender, religion, immigration status, sexual orientation and other protected categories, the new hate speech policy will go further. The policies will specifically ban videos "alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation, or exclusion," based on those categories. That would include groups that "glorify Nazi ideology," the company said in its announcement, because such beliefs were "inherently discriminatory."

Previously, the company had drawn a fine line between "hate" and "superiority," choosing to limit the spread of white supremacy videos by removing them from algorithmic recommendations and not allowing advertising on them, but not removing them unless they expressly promoted violence. The stance allowed many videos to slip through the cracks. In 2018, The Washington Post reported that users on social media sites popular with hate groups, such as Gab.ai and 4chan, linked to YouTube more often than any other site.

The company will also remove content denying that well-documented violent events took place, like the Holocaust or the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Victims of those events will also be considered protected under the company's new policies, as will people in protected castes in India, where certain castes are routinely subject to discrimination.

The Washington Post