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30 Jun, 2020 03:16

YouTube perma-bans Stefan Molyneux as it reports ‘5x spike’ in removals after launching crackdown on ‘supremacist content’

YouTube perma-bans Stefan Molyneux as it reports ‘5x spike’ in removals after launching crackdown on ‘supremacist content’

YouTube intellectual Stefan Molyneux has seen his channel of 14 years and thousands of videos deleted, with the platform citing “hate speech” as a number of online venues take aim at conservative and right-wing personalities.

Molyneux – the host of Freedomain Radio, billed as “the world’s number one philosophy show” – was booted off YouTube on Monday over its policies regulating “hate speech,” according to a company statement. His termination came amid a broader social media purge throughout the day, which saw prominent Trump-related accounts banned on Reddit and Twitch, as well as other right-wingers scrubbed from YouTube for good.

READ MORE: Twitch suspends Donald Trump's account as Reddit bans his supporters' biggest community

“We have strict policies prohibiting hate speech on YouTube, and terminate any channel that repeatedly or egregiously violates those policies,” a YouTube spokesperson told The Verge about Monday’s bans, adding that a policy change last year has driven a surge of similar deletions.

After updating our guidelines to better address supremacist content, we saw a 5x spike in video removals and have terminated over 25,000 channels for violating our hate speech policies.

Previously boasting nearly 1 million YouTube subscribers and hundreds of millions of video views, Molyneux has launched a campaign to reinstate the channel, calling on his followers to inundate the company with pleas to have his account revived. In a video statement posted on Twitter, Molyneux insisted the charges against him are baseless, stating there is a “highly coordinated effort” to silence “dissidents,” comparing his ban to a “book burning.”

“The accusation is the usual one, that I am fomenting violence and hatred and so on, which is not true at all,” he said, adding that he has always called to resolve social disputes with “reason and evidence,” rather than violence.

Starting out on YouTube in 2006 with a show largely devoted to libertarian political philosophy and peaceful parenting, Molyneux has courted controversy more recently, delving into what critics have deemed “scientific racism,” or theories that posit significant biological differences between races. While those views generated fierce criticism over the years – as well as bans on other platforms – some of his detractors weighed in to oppose his channel’s deletion, arguing he should still have the “right to speak” even if his opinions are “awful.”

Other opponents were far less forgiving, however, some labeling Molyneux’s content a “pathway” to “white supremacist radicalization,” and the “first step down the alt-right rabbit hole,” one also noting that more openly racist figures like David Duke and Richard Spencer had been banned along with him in Monday’s purge.

Molyneux wasn’t without his defenders, as many stepped in to decry the move as part of a broader effort to censor conservative and right-wing icons online. Others voiced disappointment that his whole body of work had been scrubbed, pointing out that many of his earlier videos were “incredibly detailed, well researched and sourced.”

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