Social networks globally have been working to halt cyber bullying and make their platforms safer for users. The video sharing app says it will no longer allow videos that “maliciously insult someone” based on their sex, sexuality or identity on its platform.
The Google owned business also said it will ban videos that “implied” threats or violence as part of its new harassment policy. A prominent YouTuber in June said he had been a target of another YouTube star. At the time of this incident, YouTube said it wasn’t against its policy to take down threats. However, it has now deleted the said videos.
“Even if a single video doesn’t cross the line, with our new harassment policy, we can take a pattern of behaviours into account for enforcement,” YouTube said.
Today we announced changes to our harassment policy to better protect our Creators & community.
We’ve gotten a head start answering top questions below – Read on ⬇️for resources & FAQs, and drop a comment if you still have questions.
— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) December 11, 2019
Due to this policy review, YouTube is considering taking down clips of President Trump where he referred to Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas” to taunt her over the claim that she has distant Native American heritage. It decided against it however because it thought the president did so to curry favour with votes and not to backlash her race. The clips might likely remain online.
Prior to this policy update, YouTube had banned videos that encouraged viewers to harass another individual, revealed somebody’s personal information, body-shamed somebody and contained explicit threats of violence. To add to these however, the new rules ban “implied threats of violence” and malicious insults relating to race, gender or sexual orientation. If someone said something like “you better watch out!” that video will likely be flagged for “implied threats.” The same goes harassing someone who is homosexual or black.
The video sharing app said that no one is exempted from the new policy. Politicians and popular YouTube stars will also be made to face the music if they flout any of the policies. YouTubers who consistently break the rules will lose their earning rights via the advertising platform. In a more severe case, their channels will be closed.
Restrictions will be permitted for scripted satire, music or stand-up comedy.
A YouTube correspondent, Mr. Mohan told BBC that complaints from individuals would have to be judged on an individual level so as to take the context of each video into account. The guideline wrapped it up with: “This is not a free pass to harass someone and claim, “I was joking.”
Mr. Mohan said however, that he doesn’t think the new rules would affect freedom of speech in anyway. It would only curb online harassment and cyberbullying which has been a great challenge among young people on the internet.
“We don’t want YouTube to be a place where discourse is getting stifled as a result of people having the fear of being harassed on our platform. My view is that, on balance, having a strong framework around which we are protecting individuals from being harassed is important to ensure that our platform remains one where there can be robust debate,” he told the BBC.