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YouTube refuses to halt targeted harassment

YouTube has defended hosting the “deeply offensive” opinions and “hurtful” language of a commentator who has led a sustained campaign of homophobic and racist abuse against a Vox producer.

Carlos Maza, who co-hosts the Vox show Strikethrough, last week detailed the extent of the harassment he’s endured from YouTuber Steven Crowder and his followers across two years. That abuse has been defined by slurs like “anchor baby” and “lispy queer”, and led to doxxing from Crowder’s fans.

YouTube has investigated the complaints over the last few days. Despite clear policies forbidding deliberate humiliation and incitement of harassment, the platform has concluded that Crowder’s videos aren’t in violation of its rules.

“As an open platform, it’s crucial for us to allow everyone - from creators to journalists to late-night TV hosts - to express their opinions w/in the scope of our policies,” YouTube’s team tweeted. “Opinions can be deeply offensive, but if they don’t violate our policies, they’ll remain on our site.”

It’s not the conclusion Maza wanted, but the one he expected:

YouTube faces regular criticism over its recommendation algorithm. A New York Times investigation this year discovered that videos of prepubescent children often followed sexually themed content. YouTube is one of the major homes of video game content, viewed by people of all ages.

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