YouTube ‘mistakenly’ takes down anti-Shoah denial video

Video streaming company admits error while continuing to host films containing antisemitic tropes


YouTube has reinstated a video denouncing antisemitism and Holocaust denial having initially removed it for violating its hate speech policy.

The video in question, posted by journalist Tom Gross, featured Observer investigative reporter Carole Cadwalladr criticising suggested antisemitic search terms on Google.

On June 5 YouTube, which is owned by Google, announced that it had updated its policies regarding “harmful content and hate speech”, saying that videos in breach of its rules “are removed faster than ever and users are seeing less borderline content and harmful misinformation”.

Mr Gross’s video was removed on June 10 — despite YouTube continuing to host many videos elsewhere promoting antisemitic conspiracy theories. It was then reinstated on June 25, but only after the JC contacted YouTube for this article.

A YouTube spokesperson said: “We have an appeals process in place for users, and when it’s brought to our attention that a video has been removed mistakenly, we act quickly to reinstate it. 

“The video flagged by the JC was previously removed mistakenly but has now been reinstated.”

Videos that remain available on YouTube include one titled, “My Question for the Jews”, which claims that the Talmud instructs Jews to view non-Jews as “animals”, while others seen by the JC contain antisemitic tropes regarding “the Rothschild banking dynasty” and the “New World Order”. 

In the video that Mr Gross posted, Ms Cadwalladr revealed during a conference speech that entering the phrase “Are Jews…” yielded a suggested search of “Are Jews evil?” She claimed a further suggested search was “Did the Holocaust happen?”, which led to a link to the neo-fascist Stormfront website.

Mr Gross, who has served as the Jerusalem correspondent for the Sunday Telegraph, told the JC: “I am glad they suddenly restored it. Yet there was no apology, no explanation, no indication they have learned from this episode and will stop taking down other educational tools to prevent antisemitism. Not everyone can have a newspaper intervene on their behalf.”

YouTube added: “We are a company committed to free expression and access to information. But it’s not anything goes on YouTube. The safety of our users has always been a priority. Since our earliest days, we’ve had Community Guidelines — or content policies — that govern what videos may stay on the site, which we rigorously enforce.”

Earlier this month David Collier, a British antisemitism researcher, had his YouTube account mistakenly deleted because it contained examples of hate speech. It was later restored.

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