YouTube Bans Neo-Nazi Channel For Violating Hate Speech Rules

YouTube on Wednesday banned Atomwaffen Division, an American neo-Nazi group, and removed two channels operated by the group for violating the platform’s hate speech policies, according to a report from Motherboard.

All videos from the Atomwaffen Division account have been removed. The profile page for the group’s channel now displays a banner that reads, “This account has been terminated due to multiple or severe violations of YouTube’s policy prohibiting hate speech.”

YouTube YouTube banned Neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division from its platform for violating hate speech rules. Photo: Rego Korosi/Flickr

Atomwaffen Division has been in the news recently after a ProPublica report documenting the group’s noxious rhetoric and possible ties to a number of murders. ProPublica documented communications between members of Atomwaffen Division, including conversations where members of the hate group celebrated the murder of a gay Jewish college student in January.

The University of Pennsylvania student, 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein, was allegedly stabbed to death and buried in a Southern California park by Samuel Woodward. Woodward, 20, reportedly had affiliations with Atomwaffen Division.

While members of Atomwaffen Division reportedly were upset that Woodward’s connections to the group were made public, many celebrated the allegations against Woodward. “I love this,” one member wrote in an online chat, according to ProPublica. Another called Woodward a “one man gay Jew wrecking crew.”

The YouTube page for Atomwaffen Division was no less subtle in its rhetoric than the chatroom. The group uploaded dozens of videos, including some that contained explicit calls for violence. Some included rallying cries like “Gas the K–es” and “Race War Now.”

Despite the objectionable content, YouTube failed to take action against the group for a number of months. Campaigns from protesters attempting to get the content pulled from the site failed, as YouTube would only go so far as to mark the content as offensive and limit the ability to share and comment on the videos.

“These videos are not only disgusting racist content that has no place in our society, but they incite hatred against one religious group—in this case, Jews—therefore violating YouTube’s own Community Guidelines. YouTube should take them down immediately,” Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement to Motherboard .

While accounts belonging to Atomwaffen Division have been removed, there is little to prevent the group from popping back up again on new channels.

The decision, delayed as it may have been, is just the latest instance of online platforms taking action against hate speech. In the immediate wake of the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August, which resulted in the death of an anti-fascist protester, tech companies including Apple, Twitter, Spotify, GoDaddy, Discord and others, all took action to remove users and content promoting white supremacist views from their services.

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