YouTube has been giving mixed messages about whether it is an open platform or not. The day after deplatforming multiple right-wing accounts, YouTube released a creator blog titled ”Preserving openness through responsibility.” It proclaimed itself an open platform for diverse, even controversial, ideas.
YouTube didn’t respond to questions about why these channels were removed. The next day, YouTube mysteriously reinstated some of these deplatformed channels, while leaving others offline.
InfoWars didn’t make the cut. The site tested YouTube’s commitment to openness by relaunching its YouTube channel. YouTube quickly banned the conspiracy site’s channel once again later that day.
Google whistleblower and former engineer Zach Vorhies tweeted that he was not surprised by this turn of events: “Remember how @SusanWojcicki stated #YouTube was an open platform the other day? Yeah turns out she was gaslighting us... once again.”
YouTube spokesperson Farshad Shadloo broke YouTube’s silence on the Big Tech policy flip flop:
"Earlier this week we removed Martin Sellner and Iconoclast's YouTube channels. We realise that many may find the viewpoints expressed in these channels deeply offensive. However, after a thorough review we determined the videos on their channels do not violate our Community Guidelines and so the channels were reinstated.”
He also added that YouTube is a platform undergoing rapid changes as far as its “hate speech policies.
“Earlier this year, we updated our approach towards hateful content” he wrote. He then added. “as a result of this new, more aggressive hate speech policy we have removed thousands of accounts and tens of thousands of videos. Just this week, we removed numerous accounts that were violative of our new, stricter hate speech policies."
The questions that remain are how such a far-reaching flip flop was made, as well as why the remaining deplatformed channels are still offline with zero examples of how they broke the rules.
The Verge wrote that “Videos and channels are removed when their content is wholly dedicated to videos that are designed to spread hateful ideologies.” Yet conservative viewers may wonder why far-left channels and islamic extremist channels are still allowed to operate on the platform if it truly goes by those rules.
In YouTube’s June blog post the organization wrote that "We're taking another step in our hate speech policy by specifically prohibiting videos alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion based on qualities like age, gender, race, caste, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status."