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YouTube hate speech bans: Richard Spencer, David Duke, Stefan Molyneux



YouTube banned Richard Spencer, David Duke, Stefan Molyneux, and other popular white supremacist channels from the platform on Monday, citing their violations of hate speech guidelines.

“We have strict policies prohibiting hate speech on YouTube, and terminate any channel that repeatedly or egregiously violates those policies,” a YouTube spokesperson said in a statement provided to Business Insider. Julia Alexander of The Verge first reported the news. 

Duke is a longtime Ku Klux Klan leader and neo-Nazi, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center; Spencer is the head of the National Policy Institute, a white supremacist lobbying organization and think tank, which was also removed from YouTube on Monday; and Molyneux is a far-right activist who advocates for “eugenics and white supremacism,” according to the SPLC. The platform also banned the channel of the white nationalist group American Renaissance and its podcast channel.

Molyneux, who calls himself a philosopher, tweeted that his ban was an “egregious error.” Spencer said he planned to appeal his ban, which he called a “systemic, coordinated effort.” 

For years, YouTube has faced criticism for allowing the channels of white supremacists to thrive. A September 2018 report from the independent research organization Data and Society called YouTube “the single most important hub by which an extensive network of far-right influencers profit from broadcasting propaganda to young viewers.”

In June 2019, YouTube, which is owned by Google, rolled out a hate speech policy overhaul. A YouTube spokesperson said that more than 25,000 channels had been removed for “violating our hate speech policies” in the year since. 

The news comes the same day that Reddit banned over 2,000 subreddits for hate speech, including r/the_donald, a pro-Trump group that’s long been criticized for racist and offensive language. Former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao criticized the company in June for allowing the subreddit’s “hate, racism, and violence” to continue on the platform.

“Reddit is a place for community and belonging, not for attacking people,” the platform’s current CEO Steve Huffman said on Monday, according to The New York Times

Also on Monday, livestreaming platform Twitch suspended President Trump’s channel for “hateful conduct,” using the president’s language in campaign rally speeches as examples. 

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