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YouTube Expands its Anti-Harassment Policy

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YouTube announced on Wednesday that an expansion of its anti-harassment policy that will ban video creators from insulting one another based on their race, gender expression, or sexual orientation. The ban will also take effect if a creator insults a popular creator, celebrity, politician, or another public figure.

The new policy comes several months after YouTube was criticized for declining to remove videos posted by right-wing commentator Steven Crowder in which he repeatedly called Vox video host Carlos Maza a “lispy queer,” among other things. In the face of strong public outrage, YouTube said it would reconsider all its harassment policies.

The update included 4 main changes to the policy:

First, the policy expands the types of threats that are now banned. Now, more veiled and implied threats will be banned as well.

Second, the policy now bans targeted harassment campaigns. Under the new policy, YouTube will now take a more holistic view of what a creator is saying on their channel. Even if individual videos don’t necessarily cross the line, if they still contribute to the persecution of another person or creator, they’re eligible for removal.

Third, the policy now bans insults based on a protected class, such as race, gender expression, or sexual orientation. The policy applies to all individuals, whether they are creators or not, and even if they are public figures.

Fourth, YouTube is expanding its program that uses machine learning to identify potentially offensive comments and allow creators to decide whether they want the comment to appear under their videos. The feature has been turned on by default for most creators since earlier this year.