As it happens on the internets, things evolved quickly on Monday after YouTube banned the Right Wing Watch (RWW) account on the grounds that it said RWW was promoting extremism. For years RWW – a project of the progressive group People for the American Way – has chronicled the goings-on of dangerous far-right groups that seek to spread hate and conspiracy theories in the United States. After just a few hours on Monday, the ban was reversed.
“Right Wing Watch’s YouTube channel was mistakenly suspended, but upon further review, has now been reinstated,” the Google-owned tech company said in a statement. The social media channel attributed the mistake to the large volume of videos on its site, where much of the content moderation that gets users banned is automated.
On Monday, RWW disclosed it had received a notice of a permanent ban related to rules violations in the video clips that it posts, which often show examples of alleged hate speech, conspiracy theories and other prohibited content. Many news outlets, including HillReporter, find RWW’s videos to be a valuable source of reporting background.
Below is the full text of today’s statement by RWW Director Adele Stan on YouTube’s reversal:
“We are glad that by reinstating our account, YouTube recognizes our position that there is a world of difference between reporting on offensive activities and committing them. Without the ability to accurately portray dangerous behavior, meaningful journalism and public education about that behavior would cease to exist. We hope this is the end of a years-long struggle with YouTube to understand the nature of our work. We also hope the platform will become more transparent about the process it uses to determine whether a user has violated its rules, which has always been opaque and has led to frustrating and inexplicable decisions and reversals such as the one we experienced today. We remain dedicated to exposing threatening and harmful activities on the Far Right and we are glad to have YouTube again available to us to continue our work.”