YouTube’s paid comment feature being used to promote hate speech: report
A paid comment system on YouTube has been co-opted by white nationalists and members of the alt-right as a way around the site’s complex monetization policies.
BuzzFeed News reports that white nationalists such as Christopher Cantwell and others have utilized “Super Chats” on their channels and live streams. That service allows viewers to spend money to have their remarks highlighted by YouTube’s software while simultaneously donating to the channels.
YouTube itself takes a cut of those donations, which totaled just over $4,000 on two recent videos starring white nationalists Richard Spencer and Mike Enoch, according to a BuzzFeed analysis.
The comments submitted by viewers of the streams, like the broadcasters themselves, are often racist or anti-Semitic.
YouTube told BuzzFeed in a statement that the site, which does not find the alt-right broadcasters to fall under the umbrella of “hate speech,” is reexamining the Super Chats system because the comments are often used to publicize shocking or vulgar remarks.
“Hateful content that promotes violence has no place on YouTube. We carefully reviewed the livestreams that were provided by BuzzFeed, and found that the content does not meet our threshold for hate speech. However, we found that the comments shared in Super Chat do,” a spokesman told BuzzFeed.
“Super Chat is a relatively new feature — it’s a small but growing source of revenue for some creators, and we are re-examining our policies in light of these edge cases.”
Earlier in May web hosting service GoDaddy said it would give Spencer, a well-known white nationalist, 48 hours to move his website from the company’s platform to another site.
“In instances where a site goes beyond the mere exercise of these freedoms, however, and crosses over to promoting, encouraging, or otherwise engaging in specific acts of violence against any person, we will take action,” GoDaddy said at the time.
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