Talk show host says YouTube algorithm isn't 'sophisticated' enough to combat extremist content

The host of prominent left-leaning YouTube series “ContraPoints” expressed doubt on Tuesday over whether the platform will ever be able to effectively address extremist content.

Even though the platform uses a combination of people and technology to enforce its community guidelines, Natalie Wynn, whose channel boasts about 663,000 subscribers, argued that the platform's use of artificial intelligence to tackle potentially harmful content is fundamentally flawed.

“The problem with having computers moderate things is computers are not very sophisticated,” she said during an interview on “Rising.”

Wynn added that YouTube, which has more than 1.8 billion users, has an algorithm that filters out extremist videos, but she emphasized that many far-right users pushing hate speech and extremist content go unchecked.

“The problem with that is that the people who are pushing far-right, white nationalist viewpoints don’t use swastikas, they don’t say the word ‘white pride,’” she told Hill.TV. “They say ‘heritage’, they say ‘migrants’ they say ‘identity’ and the people who are saying swastikas are talking about Hitler — those are generally the anti-fascists people.”

Wynn argued that, as a result, YouTube winds up “banning a lot of the stuff that we don’t want to be banned and not banning the stuff that we may want to be banned.”

YouTube did not comment to Hill.TV about Wynn's claims on Tuesday.

The Google-owned platform has faced backlash from critics across the political spectrum over its handling of a number of controversies this past year.

It has been accused of everything from enabling child sexual exploitation and failing to protect LGBTQ users from harassment to being biased against conservatives.

Following public outcry over the harassment of Vox journalist Carlos Maza on its platform, YouTube updated its policies against videos that promote extremist ideologies such as white supremacy or caste superiority. This move also included barring creators who violate these policies from running ads on their channels.

Several civil rights groups, including the Anti-Defamation League, praised the move as an important step forward. Others dismissed it as a publicity stunt. 

—Tess Bonn

— This report was updated at 10:14 p.m.