After five days of research, YouTube decided that Steven Crowder's use of homophobic language to talk about Vox host Carlos Maza has not violated the community guidelines.
The response from the makers community was immediate. Many people criticized YouTube's lack of action and pointed out that Crowder's use of the homophobic language to humiliate Maza was directly in conflict with the company's own rules. Others saw Crowder's behavior as pushing the boundaries of what YouTube would allow, but still believed it was acceptable. While both groups were waiting to see if YouTube was doing anything, neither of them were surprised by the ultimate passivity: YouTube has long been confronted with criticism for the highly selective punishment of users who seem to be crossing the border.
YouTube cyberbullying and bullying policy that content "intentionally posted to humiliate someone" and "hurtful and negative personal comments / videos about another person" is not allowed. Creators such as Hank Green, Lindsay Ellis, Riley Jennis, ProZD and many others called YouTube for its hypocrisy.
YouTube is a monopoly – it is not that LGBT people can move platforms without effective self-de-platforming, but that doesn't mean we have to kiss the ring. @TeamYouTube offers homophobic malicious actors the opportunity to violate their Terms of Service while paying them a safe company service #pride
– Lindsay Ellis (@thelindsayellis) June 5, 2019
Ooof … well, let's not use the usual "YouTube is so pro-LGBTQ!" party to zero people use your platform to sell "Socialism is for Fags" shirts, ok?
Hugs for all the strange YouTube employees who are very sad and frustrated today.
– Hank () Green (@hankgreen) June 5, 2019
YouTube explained to Gizmodo, in comments that were not published in full, Crowder's derogatory language was acceptable because it was contained in criticism "focused primarily on discussing opinions." YouTube also said that "Crowder has not instructed its viewers to harass Maza on YouTube or any other platform," so that it has not violated parts of YouTube & # 39; s harassment and cyberbullying policies.
The attitude was reclaimed by people inside and outside the YouTube community. Maza told The edge about DM that the YouTube response confirmed what many YouTube video makers previously thought, "that YouTube's anti-intimidation policy is nonsense."
"It's fake policy rules that should make advertisers believe that YouTube really cares about what's happening on the platform," Maza said.
Many makers agreed that the reaction was disappointing, but not because of the character of the company. Riley J. Dennis, a trans-maker who talks about gender and sexuality, tweeted "It still hurts to see (YouTube) actually saying publicly, & # 39; no, we really support homophobic abuse & # 39 ;." Robbie Couch, who makes news, commentary and lifestyle videos & # 39; s, called it one "Cowardly, greedy, incoherent – yet not at all surprising – answer" from YouTube, adding "you might as well not have a bullying policy."
Other video makers, especially YouTube commentators, do not consider Crowder's language intimidation or hate speech and say that banning it would destroy part of the platform. "There would be no commentary community if this humiliation policy were upheld," said One, the host of Nerd City and one of YouTube's most popular commentators.
Crowder is part of a growing pundit and commentary community on YouTube, where mocking other video makers is a initial for the course. Their comments must be comedic, but unlike television shows with a large staff and network behind it, no one is guarding the line between a kind-hearted joke and a personal attack.
One said Crowder's content "goes all the way", but it doesn't violate most YouTube guidelines. If he violates & # 39; s terms of service, the intention is to humiliate & # 39 ;, said One, adding that the policy is selectively enforced at best. If YouTube enforced it, many comment channels would not work.
Video makers such as Ricky Berwick, a comedian and a popular personality, also see Crowder's videos as in line with stand-up comedy and online commentary. "Cyberbullying has been around since the beginning," Berwick said. "I've always been called a lame … I really think you should defend yourself, but don't cancel people." The leading drama commentator, Daniel "Keemstar" Keem, saw Maza & # 39; s tweets as an attempt to de-platform Crowder because of his political beliefs. Keem thanked YouTube for "defense of freedom of expression" after announcing that no action would be taken against Crowder, adding that the company "did really well today".
Maza told The edge that people who take this development as a victory for & # 39; freedom of speech & # 39; and the & # 39; fight against censorship & # 39; be right on YouTube – and that's the problem. It is further proof of "why that argument is wrong," he said. If a company like YouTube & # 39; is not willing to censor hateful and abusive content & # 39 ;, it creates an environment in which & # 39; hateful and abusive content flourishes & # 39 ;.
"But that's not a free-speech environment," Maza said The edge. "It is one in which marginalized people, who usually have the least access to speech platforms, are pushed from the public square by powerful bullies."