After a week of censorship and demonetization, the YouTube CEO has finally broken her silence and commented on the situation after comedian Steven Crowder, who’s been a YouTuber for 10 years, was the target of a campaign to get him silenced.
Speaking to Axios’s Ina Friedman, who pressed her on a comment, Susan Wojcicki said:
“It’s just from a policy standpoint we need to be consistent — if we took down that content, there would be so much other content that we need to take down.”
Steven Crowder was accused of using racist and homophobic language by Vox commentator Carlos Maza.
“Steven Crowder has a lot of videos, and it took some time for us to look at that and understand it in the context of the video because context really, really matters,” Wojcicki said. “We looked at a large number of these videos and we decided they were not violative of our harassment policies.”
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Wojcicki commented about how context matters, when making such decisions about moderation. For example, rap, music videos and late night chat shows often contain words or content that could be considered harmful and would have to be removed if YouTube changed the rules to bend towards the style of censorship that Vox’s Carlos Maza and others would like to see on the platform.
This same reason that Wojcicki gave for not banning Steven Crowder was one of the same reasons that Crowder himself used in his defense, showing a clip real of late night chat show hosts who would also have to be banned if YouTube were to cave in to Vox’s demands:
— Steven Crowder (@scrowder) June 5, 2019
The CEO also said that, “when we change policies, we don’t want to be knee-jerk,“ adding that “we need to have consistent policies” that are continuously enforced.