YouTube ‘mistakenly’ suspends Right Wing Watch, reinstates channel

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YouTube reinstated the channel Right Wing Watch on Monday, saying it “mistakenly” suspended the account, which focuses on monitoring conservative groups and figures.

“Right Wing Watch’s YouTube channel was mistakenly suspended, but upon further review, has now been reinstated,” a YouTube spokesperson said in a statement. 

Right Wing Watch tweeted screenshots Monday from YouTube messages notifying the group that its channel had been suspended over community guideline violations and that an appeal to the suspension had been denied.  

“Our efforts to expose the bigoted view and dangerous conspiracy theories spread by right-wing activists has now resulted in @YouTube banning our channel and removing thousands of our videos,” the group tweeted. 

Right Wing Watch is a project from the nonprofit organization People for the American Way. The group’s researchers monitor right-wing media outlets and public figures in an effort to expose risks posed by violent rhetoric and disinformation. 

Director Adele Stan said the group is “glad” that its account has been reinstated and urged the platform to be more transparent going forward about its process to determine what videos violate its rules. 

“We are glad that by reinstating our account, YouTube recognizes our position that there is a world of difference between reporting on offensive activities and committing them. Without the ability to accurately portray dangerous behavior, meaningful journalism and public education about that behavior would cease to exist. We hope this is the end of a years-long struggle with YouTube to understand the nature of our work,” Stan said in a statement. 

“We also hope the platform will become more transparent about the process it uses to determine whether a user has violated its rules, which has always been opaque and has led to frustrating and inexplicable decisions and reversals such as the one we experienced,” Stan added.

Right Wing Watch senior fellow Kyle Mantyla told The Daily Beast that the years-long issues with YouTube had escalated over the past year as the Google-owned video platform aimed to crack down on misinformation related to the coronavirus and the election. 

The group received two strikes in April over videos posted on the channel, and a video from more than eight years ago was flagged and taken down as the “third strike” that prompted the suspension, Mantyla told The Daily Beast. 

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