(CBS) – YouTube is taking another step to curb hateful and violent speech on its site.
The video-streaming company owned by Google said it will now take down videos that lob insults at people based on race, gender expression, sexual orientation or other “protected attributes.” YouTube will also prohibit veiled threats of violence, taking a step further into moderating what people can say in the millions of videos they create and upload daily.
The company has been criticized by politicians, viewers and video creators for the material it allows on — and bans from — the site. It’s been accused of allowing hate speech and extremism and creating spaces for harassment to linger online.
The same criticism has also been leveled at other sites that allow people to post their own material, including Facebook and Twitter.
YouTube has been reviewing its policies and guidelines for about two years, Matt Halprin, the company’s vice president of trust and safety, told the Associated Press. He said the company tries to find a balance between allowing freedom of expression and keeping hateful speech to a minimum.
YouTube has long prohibited outright threats of violence. In June, it updated its hate speech policies to ban videos with white supremacist and Neo-Nazi viewpoints.
But the company also received significant pushback that month after it allowed a video to remain on the site from conservative commentator Steven Crowder. In the video, Crowder used homophobic slurs aimed at Vox reporter Carlos Maza.
Maza, who said Crowder has harassed him for years, publicly criticized YouTube for its decision. At the time, the company said it didn’t violate any anti-harassment policies.
That will change today. YouTube confirmed that Crowder’s videos about Maza now violate its new policies and will be removed.
YouTube also announced it would take action against channels that have been found to repeatedly harass people in videos. In many cases, it will “demonetize” the channel, YouTube said, by turning off any ad revenue those videos would normally generate for their creators.
YouTube already demonetized Crowder’s channel.
The new anti-harassment and violence policies also apply to public officials, though videos will emain on the site if they are considered parts of news stories, documentaries or other educational material.
YouTube is also rolling out a comment review tool to video owners that will, by default, hold back comments the company’s algorithms have flagged as potentially inappropriate until creators have reviewed them. Video creators can turn off that setting if they want.