YouTube Pulls ‘Triumph of the Will’ For Violating New Hate Speech Policy
YouTube is enacting another demonetization strategy and account purge in order to combat hate speech on the platform, targeting channels that parlay in “videos alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion,” according to a company blog post.
This generally includes demonetizing or banning videos and channels that engage in vitriolic speech targeting race, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, and so forth.
However, since much of this moderation is left to an algorithm to decide what is and isn’t hate speech, myriad historical videos and channels are being caught in the crossfire.
For example, the new purge meant the removal of Leni Riefenstahl’s 1935 Nazi propaganda epic ‘Triumph of the Will,’ which was removed from the site hours after YouTube announced its new standards. Naturally, ‘Triumph of the Will’ falls under the category of “videos that promote or glorify Nazi ideology, which is inherently discriminatory,” as YouTube explains in one section of its prohibited content.
However, the film also represents significant historical value, both in terms of world history and cinematic history. Furthermore, ‘Triumph of the Will’ is not alone. Channels that are dedicated to teaching history are being removed as well, with little distinction being made between historical presentation and modern-day hate mongering.
Metaflix is also no stranger to YouTube’s policy of wielding an ax when a scalpel should be used. At one point in time, the most popular video on our YouTube channel was a feature on the German movie “Downfall.” However, it was so laden by Youtube with warnings and restrictive categorizations that it wasn’t worth the potential damage to keep it on our channel, so we made the difficult decision to delete it.
Obviously YouTube is dealing with shades of gray in many of these situations, and they’ve prudently chosen to err on the side of caution. We only hope that YouTube has also ensured there are tools that enable such channels to appeal their demonetization or outright removal in a process that relies on manual—i.e. human—review.