YouTube’s chief product officer Neal Mohan has revealed that the company is working on new “creator-on-creator” harassment policies that will be announced later this year.
Mohan made the announcement at VidCon 2019, a conference for digital video creators, but didn’t provide any specific details on what these policies will entail.
In a comment to CNET, YouTube said that the introduction of these new policies wasn’t spurred by Vox host Carlos Maza’s claims that comedian Steven Crowder’s jokes constituted “harassment” against him and the subsequent legacy media campaign that pressured YouTube to take action against Crowder. However, it’s not clear what else could have led to YouTube making this change because there haven’t been any other recent high profile incidents where a YouTube creator has claimed that they were being “harassed” by another creator and then gained significant media attention.
YouTube introduced new “hate speech” rules in the wake of Maza’s complaints which led to many seemingly innocuous YouTube channels being demonetized and deleted.
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In a further update, YouTube said it may take action against creators, even if they don’t violate community guidelines. YouTube’s reasoning for this is that if a creator’s behavior is deemed to be “egregious” and “harms the broader community,” YouTube may need to take action against them, regardless of whether they’ve actually broken the rules.
These new “hate speech” rules and this further update from YouTube already cover genuine harassment and even allow YouTube to punish creators for making jokes, as we saw with the Crowder case.
Given what we’ve already seen from YouTube’s previous rule changes this year, these new “creator-on-creator harassment” policies are probably going to have little impact when it comes to stopping real harassment but instead make it even harder for creators to challenge, debate, criticize, joke about, or respond to content from other creators on the platform.