YouTube Finally Removes Neo-Nazi Group's Videos After Initially Refusing

27 February 2018, 11:31 | Updated: 27 February 2018, 11:43

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Benedict Townsend

By Benedict Townsend

The videos are gone, but the channel is not

YouTube appears to have finally taken down videos posted by an infamous Neo-Nazi group named 'Atomwaffen', which has been linked to no less than five murders, and which celebrated the murder of a Jewish student. However, they only did so after pressure from users and after initally issuing a statement saying that they would leave them online.

Last week, Vice reported that the group was still operating freely on YouTube, posting videos that explicitly promoted Neo-Nazism and violent anti-semitism. The channels associated with the group have now been stripped clean of their video content, but continue to exist, indicating that YouTube has removed specific content but not outright banned the group.

How bad is this group?

The Southern Poverty Law Centre, which monitors dangerous groups, describes the group in this way:

"AWD is organized as a series of terror cells that work toward civilizational collapse. Members, who can be fairly described as accelerationists, believe that violence, depravity and degeneracy are the only sure way to establish order in their dystopian and apocalyptic vision of the world."

The SPLC also highlights quotes from the official website of the group, including:

“Pro f**got propaganda is working! AIDS is spreading like wildfire. Dead f**gots couldn’t make us happier! Hail AIDS!”

The official slogan of the group is: "“Gas The K**es! Race War Now! 1488! Boots on the ground!”

Why has YouTube not banned them?

Speaking to The Daily Beast, a YouTube spokesperson said:

"We announced last June that we would be taking a tougher stance on videos that are borderline against our policies on hate speech and violent extremism by putting them behind a warning interstitial and removing certain features, such as recommended videos and likes. We believe this approach strikes a good balance between allowing free expression and limiting affected videos' ability to be widely promoted on YouTube.”

This goes against YouTube's own policies

In YouTube's terms of service, it is clearly stated that it is forbidden to upload:

"content that promotes violence against or has the primary purpose of inciting hatred against individuals or groups based on certain attributes, such as: race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, sexual orientation/gender identity.”

Seeing as this groups literal slogan is a call to gas Jewish people, it is perplexing why YouTube allows them to continue to operate.

YouTube has now finally acted

Acting in direct contravention to its own statement, the site has now made videos from the group unwatchable.

None of this helps to assuage widespread fears that YouTube appears to have very little control over its own platform. This narrative was heightened when Logan Paul's infamous suicide forest video was allowed to climb the trending page and only made worse when other disgusting videos were also recently accidentally promoted by the site.

YouTube has thus far offered very weak arguments about why it cannot control the content on its site, some of which have been called out by web experts.