Home Affairs select committee chairman Yvette Cooper has blasted YouTube for ‘colluding’ with extremism by failing to take down banned far-Right content
YouTube is guilty of ‘colluding’ with extremism by failing to take down banned far-Right content, MPs said yesterday.
The video-streaming service, owned by Google, was shamed for its ‘shocking’ inability to ‘do the basics’ after hate-filled neo-Nazi videos flagged by MPs remained online 15 months after they were first uploaded.
These include a 2016 video by banned white supremacist group National Action – described by Scotland Yard as a ‘grave’ concern – despite politicians asking for its removal at least seven times.
The Home Affairs select committee yesterday called an urgent meeting over the failures.
It warned the site’s public policy manager, William McCants, that by leaving such content online, the firm could be helping to fuel hatred that inspired events such as the Finsbury Park mosque attack.
Chairman Yvette Cooper blasted YouTube, saying: ‘You are continuing to host illegal organisations, you are continuing to collude with these organisations by providing a platform for their extremism, and your algorithms are promoting radicalisation by promoting extreme organisations.
‘The failing is not simply an accident … the evidence you have given us today is so weak it looks like a failure to do even the basic checks along the way.
‘We are extremely disappointed by the evidence that you have given.
‘Frankly the richest organisation in the world should be able to do a better job.’
Giving evidence to the committee, Mr McCants, who has only been in the post for a few months, was unable to say where the site’s reviewers – who allowed the videos to slip through its checks for hate speech and inappropriate material – were trained.
He also failed to answer in full questions about the training process reviewers undergo, and was unable to say whether they were hired by YouTube or outside contractors.
MPs said the response raised concerns over whether social media firms should be allowed to continue policing themselves.
Theresa May has repeatedly said the US tech giants need to be tougher in dealing with extremist content posted on their sites.
Theresa May has repeatedly said the US tech giants need to be tougher in dealing with extremist content posted on their sites
Miss Cooper offered to show Mr McCants videos recommended by YouTube of other far-Right content she should watch based on the National Action videos she had previously viewed.
‘You are the king of the search engine and yet your search engines are promoting things that further and further radicalise people,’ she added.
Meanwhile, Labour MP Stephen Doughty said he had been able to find IRA propaganda on the site yesterday, describing YouTube’s review methods as ‘completely crap’.
He told Mr McCants: ‘These are organisations deemed by the UK Government as being organisations glorifying and supporting extremism. Yet every single time I go on YouTube there is that content, can you explain why?’
Miss Cooper slammed Mr McCants for a lack of research ahead of his appearance after the MPs raised concerns over contradictory evidence.
Mr McCants said YouTube was ‘working around the clock’ to vet extremist content and added that he will personally check National Action posts like a ‘hawk’.
Apologising for past failings, Mr McCants said YouTube will now employ specialist reviewers, trained in flagging certain content.