YouTube today announced a set of policy changes aimed at combating harassment on the platform.
YouTube announced Wednesday that it has strengthened its policies against online harassment, which provide for a stronger stance and consequences for those who make threats and personal attacks.
In a statement sent to newsrooms, the company stated that it has developed the framework it already used to combat hate speech on its platform, with a series of policy and product changes that update the way they handle harassment.
YouTube has warned that it will take a “stronger stance” against threats and personal attacks, as well as imposing sanctions on users who demonstrate a pattern of harassing behavior, such as removing videos that contain indirect or implicit threats (explicit ones already were prohibited).
“We regularly review all our policies to ensure that the line between what we remove and what we allow is drawn in the right place, and we recognize earlier this year that on harassment we can and should do much more to protect our creators and the community, ”reads the statement.
According to the company, for this change were heard the opinions of content creators, online bullying organizations, journalists, freedom of expression advocates and political organizations.
This prohibits any video with indirect or implied threats, including “content that simulates violence against an individual or language, suggesting that physical violence may occur”.
“We will no longer allow content that maliciously insults anyone based on protected attributes such as race, gender identity or sexual orientation. This guideline applies to everyone from private individuals to YouTube creators and public entities, ”the platform added.
If a pattern of harassing behavior is detected, YouTube has committed to “remove channel content” and may even apply more stringent measures such as terminating a channel if the behavior persists.
Also the comment sections – usually the area "where creators and spectators encounter harassment" – will be the subject of further scrutiny, which has been implemented in recent times.
“We removed comments that clearly violate our policies – over 16 million in the third quarter of this year. The policy updates described above will also apply to comments; so we expect this number to increase in the coming quarters, ”warned YouTube.
To guard against accusations of disrespect for freedom of expression, the video sharing platform has clarified that when it is unsure whether a comment violates its policies, “but that it seems potentially inappropriate,” gives creators “a chance to review it before it is published. ”
“We continue to adjust our systems to ensure that we get really toxic comments, not just anything negative or critical,” reads the same note sent to newsrooms.
YouTube is a California-based internet video sharing platform created in 2005, which was meanwhile bought by Google and currently operates as one of its subsidiaries.