YouTube has been forced to rethink and revise its policies related to harassment, specifically concerning the homophobic comments made by YouTuber Steven Crowder heckling Vox Media journalist Carlos Maza.
While YouTube has taken the step to stop monetisation of Crowder’s channel, Maza mentioned in one of his tweets that this move doesn’t really help as the YouTuber earnings are dependent on the merchandise he sells via his channel.
#LouderWithCrowder is the hashtag being used by those in solidarity with Steven Crowder, who has north of 3.8 million subscribers. However, most of his sympathisers fail to understand that demonetising his channel doesn’t curb Crowder’s freedom of speech and expression rather it just prevents him from earning through advertisement provided by YouTube’s Partner Program.
It’s important to note that at first policymakers at YouTube didn’t feel that Crowder’s videos violated their harassment policies. It was only after the issue was highlighted on social media platforms that the Google-owned video sharing platform took notice of the issue and decided to address it.
According to Chris Dale at YouTube, “If we were to take all potentially offensive content down, we’d be losing valuable speech — speech that allows people everywhere to raise their voices, tell their stories, question those in power, and participate in the critical cultural and political conversations of our day.”
“In the case of Crowder’s channel, a thorough review over the weekend found that individually, the flagged videos did not violate our Community Guidelines. However, in the subsequent days, we saw the widespread harm to the YouTube community resulting from the ongoing pattern of egregious behaviour, took a deeper look, and made the decision to suspend monetisation”
This doesn’t mean that Crowder’s channel has been permanently been blocked from showing ads. It will be considered for reinstatement once all the issues with are addressed, which include videos that violate YouTube’s policies and offensive merchandise.
As mentioned before in this report, Steven Crowder’s YouTube channel — described as a ‘conservative late night comedy show’ by the host — can directly reach up to close to 4 million people, which is a massive audience and YouTube is helping his case by allowing him such a massive reach even though his content screams bigotry and hate speech.
While this might be construed as a failure to curb hate speech on its platform, there is a collective need for all social media platforms to enforce stringent policies related to hate speech and harassment if they really wish to make the internet a better and safer place for people of all gender, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation.