YouTube broadens effort to remove extremist videos

YouTube broadens effort to remove extremist videos
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YouTube is expanding its crackdown on extremist videos by now removing content that does not show violence or explicitly advocate hate.

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The move is a large shift from the company’s former policy of only removing the most egregious extremist content from its platform.

A YouTube spokesperson confirmed the company's actions, which were first reported by Reuters. The changed policy has been in place for several months.

YouTube is a subsidiary of Alphabet, Google's parent company.

News of the policy change comes after The New York Times reported on Sunday that hundreds of videos of al Qaeda recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki, many of which did not explicitly feature violent or hateful content, had been removed from YouTube.

YouTube said that the company discussed the changes with outside experts, who praised the move.

The crackdown follows years of pushback from government officials and advocacy groups who said tech companies should have tougher policies to prevent extremist content online.

YouTube in June began demonetizing — or making ineligible for ad-revenue — extremist videos on its site.

“We think this strikes the right balance between free expression and access to information without promoting extremely offensive viewpoints,” Kent Walker, Google's general counsel, wrote at the time.

This story was updated on Nov. 15 at 7:37 a.m.