The Future

YouTube is taking down conspiracy theorist channels and popular gun videos

Looks like that whole “content moderation” thing wasn't a joke after all.

The Future

YouTube is taking down conspiracy theorist channels and popular gun videos

Looks like that whole “content moderation” thing wasn't a joke after all.
The Future

YouTube is taking down conspiracy theorist channels and popular gun videos

Looks like that whole “content moderation” thing wasn't a joke after all.

In the wake of the February 14 Parkland, FL school shooting, YouTube has banned a considerable number of the most egregious conspiracy peddlers and alt-righters from its ranks. The company also issued “warning strikes” and partial suspensions to a number of other channels, at least one of which was gun-focused. The move comes after months of scandals regarding the site’s inability to properly moderate the content published on its platform. The outcry reached a fever pitch last week when a conspiracy theory video suggesting that Parkland massacre victim David Hogg was a crisis actor was listed in the top trending spot on YouTube.

Some of the accounts that have been slapped with a complete and total ban include Anti-School, Bombard's Body Language, Charlton, Charles Walton, Defango, Dustin Nemos, David Seaman, Destroying The Illusion, Ron Johnson, Richie Allen, and Titus Frost. Those who were issued strikes, partial bans, or temporary suspensions include According to Joe, Blackstone Intelligence, BakedAlaska, InfoWars, Jerome Corsi, Military Arms Channel, and MrLTavern, among many others.

It’s worth noting that — while most of these channels may not be as large or mainstream as, say, InfoWars — the followings amassed by some of these accounts are undeniably huge. At the time of its banning, Anti-School, a conspiracy theorist channel run by recent Pratt Institute graduate Isaac Green, had over 68,000 subscribers and garnered nearly three million views a month, according to statistics tracker Social Blade. Destroying The Illusion, a conspiracy-ridden channel run by Jordan Sather, also had a significant following at the time of its banning, with well over 100,000 subscribers and almost two million monthly viewers. Both of these accounts were well known proponents of the QAnon conspiracy, an insanely popular (and absolutely bonkers) conspiracy theory which, among other things, argues that a high-ranking member of the Trump Administration has been communicating secretly with a chosen few “patriots” through 4Chan and 8Chan in an attempt to warn them about a pedophillic, cannibalistic Deep State cabal.

A number of users on Twitter, Reddit, and elsewhere have claimed that YouTube has also began banning gun-related channels en masse, but so far The Outline has only been able to confirm that warnings and individual video takedowns have been issued to one account, Military Arms Channel. According to a post made by the account owner on Facebook, three Military Arms Channel videos — "Sure Shot Exploding Targets," "MAC Opens a Gun Shop - Copper Custom," and "New Kel-Tec RDB Bullpup” — were removed from YouTube on February 20 following a review by YouTube moderators. The channel has nearly 700,000 subscribers and well over a 100 million monthly views, according to Social Blade.

The owner of Military Arms Channel has placed his account into a state of voluntary suspension in an attempt to avoid any possible future strikes. (If an account is issued three warning strikes from YouTube within a period of three months, it is permanently banned from the site.) Others who have been banned are flocking to third-party video sharing sites in a desperate attempt to keep their followers. And, of course, calls for the creation of an alt-right YouTube-esque platform are abound.

YouTube did not immediately return our request for comment, but we’ll update this post if they do.

Updated on 02/28/2018 at 4:18 PM: YouTube now claims that some channels and videos may have been removed in error. "As we work to hire rapidly and ramp up our policy enforcement teams throughout 2018, newer members may misapply some of our policies resulting in mistaken removals," said a YouTube spokeswoman to Bloomberg in an email. "We’re continuing to enforce our existing policies regarding harmful and dangerous content, they have not changed. We’ll reinstate any videos that were removed in error."

Though YouTube hasn’t given any specifics as to what exactly was erroneously pulled, two videos that had been removed from Military Arms Channel — namely, "MAC Opens a Gun Shop - Copper Custom" and "New Kel-Tec RDB Bullpup” — reappeared this afternoon. As of this update, none of the terminated accounts mentioned in this article have been unbanned.

The original text of the story is above.

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