YouTube issued a strike to the channel of radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones this week after some of his videos were found to have violated YouTube community guidelines. According to a report by The Verge, YouTube removed four videos from Jones’ channel that allegedly contained instances of hate speech and child endangerment and issued one strike to his account. That new strike prevents Jones from live streaming for 90 days.
Two of the removed videos allegedly contained hate speech against Muslims, and one video was said to have contained hate speech against transgender people. The fourth video showed a child being pushed to the ground by an adult male and was titled “How to prevent liberalism.” That video remains up on InfoWars’ Facebook page.
“We have longstanding policies against child endangerment and hate speech,” a YouTube representative said in a statement. “We apply our policies consistently according to the content in the videos, regardless of the speaker or the channel. We also have a clear three-strikes policy and we terminate channels when they receive three strikes in three months.”
Three strikes to an account within three months will result in termination of the account. However, strikes expire three months after they’ve been issued. Jones’ channel received a strike back in February after a video promoted the roundly debunked conspiracy theory that survivors of the Parkland shooting were “crisis actors.”
That strike has since expired, so The Alex Jones Channel reportedly has one strike against it at this time. Even so, Jones experienced backlash after the Parkland controversy when advertisers suspended their ads on Jones’ and InfoWars’ YouTube channels.
YouTube’s newest crack-down on Jones’ channel comes as Facebook grapples with how it treats hate speech and misinformation on its site. Facebook recently received criticism after it refused to take down a video posted by Alex Jones in which he attacks Special Counsel Robert Mueller, accusing him of pedophilia and pretending to shoot him. According to a report by BuzzFeed News, Facebook stated that Jones’ video was not a “credible statement of intent to commit violence.”
Both YouTube and Facebook face the challenge of policing troves of content uploaded to their social networks each day. Over the last year or so, YouTube has instituted new policies that dictate how hate speech, extremist content, and misinformation will be treated on its site. Those rules have frustrated some users, particularly when they were first instated, because many creators saw their content flagged for unknown reasons. YouTube has since attempted to make its policies more clear for creators and advertisers alike.
But Facebook still appears to be ironing out the details of its policies. Earlier this month, head of Facebook’s News Feed John Hegeman stated that “false” news won’t necessarily violate Facebook’s policies. “I guess just for being false that doesn’t violate the community standards,” Hegeman said. “I think part of the fundamental thing here is that we created Facebook to be a place where different people can have a voice. And different publishers have very different points of view.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg echoed that sentiment in an interview with Recode’s Kara Swisher in which he stated that Facebook would allow false statements on its site but it would not allow words or actions that are meant to “attack individuals” or incite violence.Alex, child, content, endangerment, hate, Jones, speech, YouTube