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YouTube's New Moderators Mistakenly Pull Right-Wing Channels (bloomberg.com) 277

In December, said it would assign more than 10,000 people to moderate content in an attempt to curb its child exploitation problem. Today, Bloomberg reports that those new moderators mistakenly removed several videos and some channels from right-wing, pro-gun video producers and outlets in the midst of a nationwide debate on gun control. From the report: Some YouTube channels recently complained about their accounts being pulled entirely. On Wednesday, the Outline highlighted accounts, including Titus Frost, that were banned from the video site. Frost tweeted on Wednesday that a survivor of the shooting, David Hogg, is an actor. Jerome Corsi of right-wing conspiracy website Infowars said on Tuesday that YouTube had taken down one of his videos and disabled his live stream. Shutting entire channels would have marked a sweeping policy change for YouTube, which typically only removes channels in extreme circumstances and focuses most disciplinary action on specific videos. But YouTube said some content was taken down by mistake. The site didn't address specific cases and it's unclear if it meant to take action on the accounts of Frost and Corsi. "As we work to hire rapidly and ramp up our policy enforcement teams throughout 2018, newer members may misapply some of our policies resulting in mistaken removals," a YouTube spokeswoman wrote in an email. "We're continuing to enforce our existing policies regarding harmful and dangerous content, they have not changed. We'll reinstate any videos that were removed in error."
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YouTube's New Moderators Mistakenly Pull Right-Wing Channels

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    About pulling right-wing channels. Just mistaken about which ones.

  • YouTube certainly trademarked the hell out of that email.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Seriously, just goto no ip dot com, setup your own website, point it at a tiny 35 dollar raspberry pi, then stream YOUR videos to YOUR hearts content.

    If you guys want to stop being the butt rape fun time of corporations then just stop being it. It is not hard, it is not expensive, and it is not difficult.

    You just want to show off your silly shit to the world in a way the other sheeple are doing so that your a special snowflake like the other 10 trillion special snowflakes, just stop for gods sakes. Have d

    • Why is this marked Troll?
      A lot of Silicon Valley companies have convinced themselves that they run some sort of civic space where all "viewpoints" must be tolerated long past the point where cops in a public square would have been busting heads.
      It's a private company in an unregulated market. None of your tax dollars go to it, your First Amendment rights do not trump their own, and alternatives to them are available. It's their right and in their interests to maintain a proper signal-to-noise ratio. Believ
    • by k6mfw ( 1182893 )

      It is not hard, it is not expensive, and it is not difficult.

      Yes and no. If you have the skill set and resources (i.e. high bandwidth) then having your own video site is great. I admit I have a youtube channel for my videos because I don't have the skill to build a site to host videos, a friend worked on setting up a site to have videos (tons of work, constantly being jerked around on bandwidth and storage space) and with low viewership it wasn't worth it. Some of my youtube videos have 10,000 views, others about 20. I was given opportunity to get money per view (I d

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I can't possibly imagine how that happened!

  • Incompetence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rossz ( 67331 ) <`ogre' `at' `geekbiker.net'> on Thursday March 01, 2018 @12:48AM (#56202129) Homepage Journal

    Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by incompetence.

    However, this isn't the first time youtube has screwed up like this.

    Why the hell are they allowing obviously untrained people the power to wipe out entire channels on a whim?

    • Re:Incompetence (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pots ( 5047349 ) on Thursday March 01, 2018 @01:13AM (#56202221)

      Why the hell are they allowing obviously untrained people the power to wipe out entire channels on a whim?

      No one said "on a whim" but, from the summary, there are more than 10,000 people newly assigned to moderate. Are you seriously expecting them to all be experts who never make mistakes? Since the videos/channels were reinstated, it looks like they've implemented some sort of review or appeals process. This is an improvement over how things used to be.

      It doesn't even sound like much of a mistake, the article says that the mentioned channels were pretty much all conspiracy theorist / fake news people. It's just a couple of videos that Youtube reinstated.

      • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

        a big bunch of hobby channels got removed.

        they were just removing stuff because their job is removing stuff, pretty much. I reckon they had put them on a quota.

      • Funny how the "mistakes" all go one way.

        Funny how it is always conservatives, even very moderate conservatives, who get demonetized and/or censored.

        • by pots ( 5047349 )
          The article doesn't say anything about their degree of partisanship, they could be moderates or extremists, it only talks about the conspiracy theories that they were promoting. If some of them were moderates, you should see that as a good sign - it shows that they were not banned for their politics, but rather for their deception.
        • by Duhavid ( 677874 )

          Liberal, Liberal, Liberal

    • Re:Incompetence (Score:5, Interesting)

      by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Thursday March 01, 2018 @02:27AM (#56202421)

      Why the hell are they allowing obviously untrained people the power to wipe out entire channels on a whim?

      Who the Hell would apply for a job as a YouTube political correctness moderator anyway? Well, folks who can't argue their political standpoints, and must resort to censorship, when the intellectual backing of their own convictions fail, and silencing their opponent by force is their only option.

      It's just not a real job.

      If anything should be eliminated by AI and automation, it's this. Removing human bias from the system would silence critics on both sides of the political spectrum.

      • My guess is the 10,000 people are in somewhere like India or the Philippines. (More great Silicon Valley goodness.)

        It's unrealistic to expect people from many parts of the world to comprehend much less uphold basic freedoms which are implicitly understood and taken for granted in Western European countries.

        It's one thing to have them attempt to handle your customer support call, another when they're entrusted with responsibility over something which is lacking in their own culture.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Who the Hell would apply for a job as a YouTube political correctness moderator anyway?

        People who like money?

    • Re:Incompetence (Score:4, Insightful)

      by eclectro ( 227083 ) on Thursday March 01, 2018 @03:24AM (#56202575)

      Repeated instances of "incompetence" start to form a trend-line towards malice. The number of right wing/conservative demonetization, strikes, deletions, limited state, and channel termination is becoming vast. All the while ignoring channels on the left.

      Currently, all the redpill/MGTOW channels have been hit hard with many channels being outright terminated and not returning evidently.

      Youtube has brought forth a heavy hand, and it's not a question of how much incompetence there is, but a question of how much they can get away with at any one time.

      Here's what Pat Condell had to say about the recent spat of censorship. [youtube.com]

      • Currently, all the redpill/MGTOW channels have been hit hard with many channels being outright terminated and not returning evidently.

        The dumb thing is that most people in my experience don't find MGTOW/Red Pill a particular compelling viewpoint - they've always seemed to me to be a mirror of the radical feminists and just as bonkers. Both groups are telling young people not to have long term relationships with the opposite sex, and that comes across as something you believe before you've had any good relationships and quietly discard later.

        Still ban them and it seems like they'll acquire a cachet that they wouldn't have acquired from the

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        What about all the left leaning channels that were hit with flagging, de-monetization, removals and bans?

        How can you say that YouTube ignored left leaning channels when so many of them were hit hard by the AI ban-hammer?

        Meanwhile YouTube is dominated by far right redpill/alt-right/anti-feminist channels. People like Sargon, Armoured Skeptic, Bearing, TL;DR, The Golden One, Paul Joseph Watson... How many interviews with Richard Spencer are up there? Interviewing a self-proclaimed Nazi seems to be the latest

    • obviously untrained

      There is a staggeringly huge gap between an "obviously untrained" employee, and what you seem to be after: the "theoretically perfect" employee. Key part there is the theoretical. This is a process where humans judge. They will never be perfect, and mistakes do not make them "obviously untrained".

    • Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by incompetence.

      However, this isn't the first time youtube has screwed up like this.

      Why the hell are they allowing obviously untrained people the power to wipe out entire channels on a whim?

      Since YT announced ahead of time it's intention to hire moderators, it's quite possible that individuals with an agenda applied and deliberately mislead YT HR as to their impartiality, and/or political activist groups sent people to apply to fill these positions with similar intent to advance their political agendas and suppress opposing viewpoints and voices.

      Strat

  • Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tsa ( 15680 ) on Thursday March 01, 2018 @12:52AM (#56202135) Homepage

    Mistakenly?

    • Facebook rolled out its new algorithm in January.

      Due to the algorithm, Trump's total engagement dropped by about half, while the engagements of left-wing people such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren stayed largely the same [breitbart.com].

      I don't mind healthy competition between political viewpoints, but why does "oops, we're having some trouble with the algorithm" always seem to be in favor of the left?

    • Yeah, I'm not buying it.

    • "We fired an engineer for being aware of basic biology and psychology, and we constantly curate the front page and trending vidlist to exclude viewpoints we don't like. Oh, and we also hired 10,000 thought police. How could this happen???" -Youtube
      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        we constantly curate the front page and trending vidlist to exclude viewpoints we don't like

        Nope.

        The front page is by default full of popular but bland videos, determined by things like the ratio of up/down votes. If you create an account it starts to customize it for you. For example, I get both left leaning and some really extreme far right stuff recommended to me, because it knows I'm interested in politics and recommends both videos similar to the ones I've liked and counter-arguments/responses to those videos.

        If you have evidence of a conspiracy then post it, but since YouTube has also killed

    • Yes. A new moderator mistakenly believed that a channel was against Youtube's content policy and removed the channel. This isn't a "Whoops! Wrong button!" mistake.
  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Thursday March 01, 2018 @01:01AM (#56202183)
    promoting the conspiracy theory that the kids caught up in the last school shooting were "crisis actors" and that the shooting was a "false flag" (e.g. it never really happened).

    Personally if I were Youtube I wouldn't want to be associated with those kind of nut jobs (if they believe it) or bastards (if they don't believe it and are just passing it around to get a rise out of the nut jobs). Remember kiddies, it's not censorship if the government didn't do it. You have a right to speak, you do not have a right to make google pay for your megaphone.

    Meanwhile Youtube continue to de-rank left wing media [reddit.com] in favor of corporate media (CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, etc).
    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      promoting the conspiracy theory that the kids caught up in the last school shooting were "crisis actors" and that the shooting was a "false flag" (e.g. it never really happened).

      It's called censorship.

      Personally if I were Youtube I wouldn't want to be associated with those kind of nut jobs (if they believe it) or bastards (if they don't believe it and are just passing it around to get a rise out of the nut jobs).

      Good thing you're not YouTube.

      Remember kiddies, it's not censorship if the government didn't do it. You have a right to speak, you do not have a right to make google pay for your megaphone.

      Tolerating nut jobs and bastards is everyone's responsibility. It's not simply about what is and is not legal. Tolerance is the price of freedom.

      • The problem is when nut jobs and bastards get an inside seat when deciding national policy. Remember lots of dictators around the world started as nut jobs and/or bastards. Idiots spreading misguided rumors have caused damage; we had someone showing up armed at a pizza parlor looking for hillary's pedo ring.

        We do not have to tolerate these people. We are already responsible, we just want the nut jobs and bastards to also be responsible. Do we stand by while others convince kids to eat Tide pods, or do we

    • That's ok because mainstream media never lies or even bends the truth. /s
    • by RightwingNutjob ( 1302813 ) on Thursday March 01, 2018 @02:07AM (#56202377)
      Of course it's censorship. It's not legally-mandated censorship, so one could consider it self-censorship on the part of YouTube, being that it owns the series of tubes here. But it's still censorship.

      I find it odd how people will go to the argument that it's only censorship if the government does it. Is it also not illegal search and search and seizure if your neighbor or business partner, who is not the government, breaks in your door and rummages through your stuff to collect evidence?

      Governments exist to secure people's rights. Against attacks by other people. And other governments. And since someone has to watch the watcher, we specifically enumerate the rights the government cannot violate in pursuit of that purpose.

      Read your Declaration. The right to free speech isn't only the right against government censorship; it is a Natural Right that you have by virtue of sucking down oxygen. The government is there to make sure no one takes it from you. That includes other private actors to whom you have not ceded it. YouTube's community guidelines do not constitute an agreement to relinquish the right to make right-wing statements. If YouTube is treating it as such, that would be a breach of contract between customer and service provider.

      I'll add one more thing. Again: if you don't want the government censoring you, then you've got to model respect for freedom of expression in the wider culture. Because government doesn't perpetuate itself. This is a democracy. The impressionable people watching you now (aka children) will be tomorrow's legislators and prosecutors. Not a good idea to give them the idea that free speech is not sacrosanct.
      • Is it also not illegal search and search and seizure if your neighbor or business partner, who is not the government, breaks in your door and rummages through your stuff to collect evidence?

        No, it's not illegal search and seizure. It's theft, trespass and breaking and entering. Those are entirely different crimes.

        Read your Declaration. The right to free speech isn't only the right against government censorship; it is a Natural Right that you have by virtue of sucking down oxygen.

        Yeah, and you have that. Se

    • by Z80a ( 971949 )

      This is the end result of the "big media" dropping the impartiality and taking a side, they basically killed all their credibility, which allowed the so called "fake news" to thrive.
      Now it's a terrible world where idiots like Alex Jones are in an equal ground to let's say CNN in terms of trustworthiness.

      The only way to get rid of it is to get rid of this politicization of the media, regain credibility and show the actual truth, even if the truth goes against their personal beliefs.

  • by oldgraybeard ( 2939809 ) on Thursday March 01, 2018 @01:07AM (#56202195)
    when Facebook, Twitter, etc creates a new policy to deal with troublesome speech. The first thing that happens is the Right is taken out big time ;)

    Then there is the oops, and the just a coincidence responses and over time some are brought back.

    What a bogus hoot ;)

    just my 2 cents ;)
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      But in this case it was the left that was hit first. When it was just AI looking at videos a lot got de-monetized. Then the waves of false-flag attacks from 4chan started, and a lot of left leaning channels like Contrapoints and Kevin Logan got videos removed or even entire channels taken down.

      So YouTube started hiring human beings to review videos instead, and of course mistakes were made.

    • but they're not very noticeable. Right wing media has heavy duty backing from wealthy interests who want to see deregulation happen. The left wing media is just a bunch of guys with patreon accounts and a few donations. And no, MSNBC is not left wing.

      So you hear about the right wing media because they've got the money to get noticed. As always, follow the money.
  • Funny (Score:5, Insightful)

    by burtosis ( 1124179 ) on Thursday March 01, 2018 @01:36AM (#56202289)
    Where do you draw the line when we also value freedom of speech? People like Alex jones are nucking futs but pulling down a channel like that only makes it worse by lending credibility and showing its worthy of attention. I completely disagree with nearly anything out of that mans mouth but banning him from YouTube is something I would not be ok with. If people can't tell reality from fiction then the problem is worse than the internet police can address.
    • but pulling down a channel like that only makes it worse by lending credibility and showing its worthy of attention.

      Just because I clean up a dogshit from my front yard doesn't mean that everyone suddenly feels like they wanted to have a sniff of it first. Alex Jones gets no more credibility by being removed from a platform that doesn't want him than he had before.

      What he does get is media attention, but certainly not credibility or any other "worth".

    • Google can do what they want with their private service. It's not a free speech issue until the government censors.
  • by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Thursday March 01, 2018 @01:40AM (#56202301)
    Google should have given a quick glance at Lois Lerner's resume before hiring her to run their Department Of Capricious Silencing. Or, maybe they did!
  • by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Thursday March 01, 2018 @01:46AM (#56202319)

    FTA:
    YouTube’s new moderators, brought in to spot fake, misleading and extreme videos, stumbled in one of their first major tests, mistakenly removing some clips and channels in the midst of a nationwide debate on gun control.

    [..]

    On Wednesday, the Outline highlighted accounts, including Titus Frost, that were banned from the video site. Frost tweeted on Wednesday that a survivor of the shooting, David Hogg, is an actor. Jerome Corsi of right-wing conspiracy website Infowars said on Tuesday that YouTube had taken down one of his videos and disabled his live stream.

    If Frost and Corsi don't qualify as fake, misleading, and extreme then those words have lost meaning.

    ps. Has anyone else noticed /. being slow and intermittent the last few days? I wonder if they're on the receiving of a DDOS or something.

    • ps. Has anyone else noticed /. being slow and intermittent the last few days? I wonder if they're on the receiving of a DDOS or something.

      Yep. I got 503s last night when I tried to log in.

  • ... lol!

    Suuuuuure they "mistakenly" pulled them.
  • BULLSHIT! (Score:2, Interesting)

    SJW activist were seen and screenshotted to be talking about joining the youtube heroes program and the moderation contractors to purposely only take down anti-conservative content and let absolutely anything liberal through, even massively perverted gay and trans content. This is NO ACCIDENT.
  • Facebook is international and, as far as I know, pretty well every country in the world is happy to have - or wished it had - effective gun controls so there's not a lot of debate.

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=O-LXSbgzgBo

    • Great, so an organization infamous for smearing people with whom they have political disagreements, and which receives huge cash endowments from partisan operators and which can be seen as dedicated to changing first amendment protections to more of a government permit arrangement for speech ... is "in charge" of removing political speech. That's great.
  • Look up the following on images.google.com

    American inventors
    white inventors
    white couples
    white women with children
    white man and white woman
    European history people

    If you think the search results are coincidental, try searching "Asian couples" or "black inventors" or something.

    • The first one is easily explained "African-American Inventor" contains the substring "American Inventor". The problem with the rest is that most of the time none of them are identified as "white". Take Alexander Graham Bell's wikipedia page, for example. The word "white" only appears in name of a plane that Bell helped to develop, meanwhile the top result for "white inventor" is a black man who had to hire a white actor to pretend to be him to sell his inventions. It's not notable to most people that a

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