What just happened? YouTube has a history of being home to toxic behavior, but the platform is updating its harassment policy to try and eliminate bullying and abuse. The new rules will ban content that maliciously insults someone based on their race, gender expression, or sexual orientation.
YouTube vice president Matt Halprin writes that the new rules apply “to everyone, from private individuals, to YouTube creators, to public officials.” The policies cover not only explicit threats, but also those that are veiled and implied. “This includes content simulating violence toward an individual or language suggesting physical violence may occur.”
Any channels that repeatedly “brush up against” YouTube’s updated harassment policy will be suspended from the YouTube Partner Program (YPP), stopping them from earning money on the site. "We may also remove content from channels if they repeatedly harass someone," added Halprin.
The policy change is mostly a response to criticism against YouTube for the way it handled the harassment campaign against journalist Carlos Maza. The Google-owned company refused to remove videos by conservative commentator Steven Crowder, who called him a “lispy queer,” along with other homophobic and racist insults. YouTube said that while Crowder’s actions were “hurtful,” they did not violate its policies. The outrage led to YouTube demonetizing Crowder.
In addition to banning videos that promote hate speech and white supremacist content earlier this year, YouTube also announced it would delete accounts that aren’t “commercially viable.”
“We remain committed to our openness as a platform and to ensuring that spirited debate and a vigorous exchange of ideas continue to thrive here,” said Halprin. “However, we will not tolerate harassment and we believe the steps outlined below will contribute to our mission by making YouTube a better place for anyone to share their story or opinion.”