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Criticism or harassment? YouTube thought police starts purging ‘veiled & implied threats’ under vague new guidelines

Criticism or harassment? YouTube thought police starts purging ‘veiled & implied threats’ under vague new guidelines
Internet and media personalities have come out in force against YouTube’s crusade against “harassment,” worried that the extremely vague and ill-defined new rules will be used to selectively target users for their political views.

Announcing the move in a blog post on Wednesday, YouTube said it was revamping its harassment rules in response to criticism, taking aim at “implied threats,”“personal attacks” and “malicious insults” hurled on the platform, especially those based on “protected attributes” like race or gender.

Under the new rules, the company will also take a more aggressive approach to scrubbing comment sections, where it says it deleted some 16 million posts just last quarter. While YouTube maintains that it won’t go after comments that are merely “negative or critical,” detractors said the new guidelines are vague, providing neither clear “lines” nor “guidance.”

“The entire reason YouTube became massive was YouTubers having beef and drama,”tweeted conservative writer Paul Joseph Watson, a frequent critic of the platform. “The line between criticism and ‘harassment’ is now so blurred, nobody knows where they stand.”

Also on rt.com Not a free speech platform: Facebook declares it’s a ‘publisher’ & can censor whomever it wants, walking into legal trap

Some critics suggested double standards were at work, noting that late night talk shows which regularly appear on YouTube feature the same kind of “harassment” – read ‘harsh criticism’ – prohibited by the new rules, but are unlikely to face bans anytime soon.

Brandon Straka, founder of the #WalkAway campaign – which urges Democrats to leave their party – told Fox News the guidelines will empower YouTube to “control our political and cultural narratives online,” adding that such rules are “rarely upheld when conservative opinions are being targeted by leftist bullying.”

With YouTube planning to apply the guidelines retroactively to all videos, even those uploaded before the rule change, the new policies will affect old content as well as new.

Perhaps with some irony, earlier this week YouTube called for “more clarity” on the Federal Trade Commission’s rules governing children’s privacy online, arguing the rules are vague and could impact content creators on the platform. Though the company put creators front and center in its appeal to the commission, it is likely more concerned with avoiding another massive fine after the FTC forced the company to cough up $170 million over violations of children’s privacy earlier this year, the largest fine in the commission’s history.

Also on rt.com Google is censoring political content? *Gasp!* Who knew?

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