YouTube said Monday it had reinstated a channel run by Right Wing Watch that listed some of the most extreme statements by prominent conservatives, hours after the Google-owned video platform banned the channel for violating its rules.
“Right Wing Watch YouTube channel was suspended in error, but after further examination has now been reinstated, “the tech company said in a statement.
He attributed the error to the large volume of videos on his site. YouTube automates much of the content moderation for the more than 500 hours of content it says is uploaded every minute, and it said it tries to act quickly when a channel is mistakenly deleted.
Right Wing Watch is a project of People for the American Way, a liberal rights advocacy group founded in 1981 and based in Washington, DC.The project had posted video clips of politicians, preachers and other prominent figures for over 10 years on YouTube, cutting an audience of about 47,000 subscribers.
Earlier Monday, Right Wing Watch said it received a permanent ban notice related to rule violations in the video clips it publishes, which often show examples of alleged hate speech, conspiracy theories and other prohibited content.
The group said the ban was an ironic result of YouTube’s attempt to enforce its rules, as the company was targeting not only the original source of material such as conspiracy theories, but also those seeking to document it.
“Our efforts to expose the fanatic point of view and the dangerous conspiracy theories propagated by right-wing activists have now led @YouTube to ban our channel and remove thousands of our videos,” Right Wing Watch said in a report. declaration early Monday.
Some conservative activists had delighted with the removal, noting in Twitter posts that Right Wing Watch had often called on YouTube to ban them or their allies for rule violations. But others said the ban shows YouTube’s troubling inability to distinguish between creators of banned content and those who oppose it.
YouTube and Right Wing Watch have fought for years against the presence of extremist videos.
In October, Right Wing Watch said that YouTube deleted one of his videos documenting content related to the QAnon conspiracy theory, but had left the original YouTube channel where the group found the content. He reported a similar situation dynamic in April with content related to the 2020 presidential election.
Kyle Mantyla, senior member of Right Wing Watch, said in an interview that the project received two YouTube “strikes” in April over clips about election-related conspiracy theories. He said YouTube launched a third and final “strike” earlier this month over an eight-year-old video of a religious broadcaster denouncing gays.
“Their inability to differentiate between people who are trying to defend these kinds of things and those who are trying to document and counter is at the heart of the problem here,” he said.
He said on Monday morning that as of 2019, the group had started switching to rival service Vimeo as a video host.
After the reinstatement, Right Wing Watch said it was glad YouTube acknowledged their mistake.
“Without the ability to accurately describe dangerous behavior, meaningful journalism and public education about that behavior would cease to exist,” Right Wing Watch director Adele Stan said in a statement.
“We hope this is the end of a years-long struggle with YouTube to understand the nature of our work,” she said.
Journalists and researchers have for years warned against social media networks inadvertently erasing evidence of extremism or violence as they attempt to rid their services of objectionable content. In a report released last year, Human Rights Watch, a nonprofit group that investigates abuse around the world, warned that YouTube and other tech companies were not archiving potential evidence of serious crimes, including war crimes.