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YouTube Finally Bans Former KKK Leader David Duke and White Supremacist Richard Spencer

With a racial reckoning taking place across the globe, social media platforms have been reassessing what they can do to encourage anti-racist agendas within their platforms. Major platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Twitch and Reddit have taken action, banning and flagging accounts that have promoted hateful content; showing less toleration for hateful agendas. Major streaming platform, YouTube, was the only one missing from that list, until recently when it revealed that it would ban known KKK leader David Duke, among others.

YouTube has taken action against some of the most prominent leaders of white supremacy, but while this may seem like a step in the right direction, this decision was left on the back burner for a while. YouTube claimed a year ago that it would ban supremacist content, yet failed to remove the most vocal supremacists, like Duke and Spencer, until now. 

Why now?

The major social media platforms that have been taking action against hateful content has perhaps prompted YouTube to fulfill their once empty promise. YouTube wound up removing channels belonging to David Duke, Stefan Molyneux, Jared Taylor (American Renaissance) and the National Policy Institute run by Spencer–some of which are the most notorious supremacists out there.

A YouTube spokesperson told CNN that these channels are taken down once they’ve accumulated enough violations. YouTube neglected to comment on why these specific actions were only taken now.

YouTube told CNN, “We have strict policies prohibiting hate speech on YouTube, and terminate any channel that repeatedly or egregiously violates those policies. After updating our guidelines to better address supremacist content, we saw a 5x spike in video removals and have terminated over 25,000 channels for violating our hate speech policies.”

Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, and Twitch have stepped up to take action against hateful content

On Monday, Reddit, a platform home to a plethora of controversial content, has vowed to take action against the hateful content that thrives within its platform. It banned 2,000 subreddits, “The_Donald” being among them, which hosts a community for Donald Trump supporters, where content was often found to be racist, homophobic, and misogynistic. Reddit says that it had issued warnings and changed its moderators, but it still refused to meet Reddit’s anti-discrimination policies. 

On top of this, Reddit’s cofounder Alexis Ohanian resigned from Reddit’s board on June 10 and announced that he wanted to be replaced by a Black candidate. Ohanian confesses “It is long overdue to do the right thing. I’m doing this for me, for my family, and for my country. I am saying this as a father who needs to be able to answer his Black daughter when she asks, ‘What did you do?’” Reddit followed through days later and announced that Michael Seibel, CEO of Silicon Valley startup accelerator Y Combinator, would sit as Reddit’s first Black board member. 

“I’m excited to help provide advice and guidance as Reddit continues to grow and tackle the challenges of bringing community and belonging to a broader audience.”

– Seibel

Alongside Reddit, Facebook, Twitch, and Twitter have been censoring and removing hateful content posted by Trump and his campaign; and in the midst of sexual assault allegations from its users, Twitch has been banning streamers upon findings in their investigations. You can read more about the actions these platforms have been taking against hateful content here.