A baffling announcement from YouTube was a big surprise to many intellectuals. YouTube decided to remove all materials “glorifying” the Nazis. The main reason for this decision seems to be related to the anti-radicalization policy employed by the tech giant. There is one little problem that YouTube policymakers do not see: by removing all materials related to this period, they effectively prevent educators from warning future generations about the dangers of fascism.
One of the biggest educators focusing on the atrocities committed by the Nazis is Scott Allsop. His channel features numerous videos illustrating different historical periods from medieval times to modern history. Sadly, many of his videos were removed from YouTube for containing or propagating hate speech.
YouTube have banned me for 'hate speech', I think due to clips on Nazi policy featuring propaganda speeches by Nazi leaders. I'm devastated to have this claim levelled against me, and frustrated 15yrs of materials for #HistoryTeacher community have ended so abruptly.@TeamYouTube
— Mr Allsop History (@MrAllsopHistory) June 5, 2019
Mr. Allsop called removals “indiscriminate” and “damaging” when asked about the issue. The educator noted that these removals harm channels that do not support or contain hate speech.
It seems that removals are conducted by an algorithm. Mr. Allsop received an automated e-mail notifying him that his content was banned and removed due to promoting “hatred or violence against members of a protected group.” How simple clips from educational documentaries produced by the BBC can be branded as promoting hate speech was not specified.
In removed videos, Hitler and Goebbels talk about propaganda and throw speeches. These video illustrations help us understand how the Nazis became powerful and what led to one of the most horrific periods in human history.
To be fair to all parties involved in this pickle, Mr. Allsop’s channel, as well as many other channels affected by the new algorithms, were reinstated. People had to appeal the removal and talk to YouTube officials, but ultimately their channels were fully operational after manual inspections done by YT content moderators.
YouTube’s efforts to moderate its content and make it less “borderline” cause more harm than good so far. Recent scandals involving Steven Crowder and Carlos Maza forced the tech giant to choose a side. YouTube chose traditional media and announced that they would promote “trusted” content creators and authoritative sources like news channels.
We can only hope that the situation with content moderation won’t become even grimmer.