YouTube moderators disabled comments on livestreams of the House Judiciary Committee’s hearing about hate crimes the rise of white nationalism on Tuesday, deeming them too hateful for the platform.
The comment sections quickly flooded with hate speech along with also white nationalist memes before the hearing had even commenced. The comments included derogatory remarks about women on camera, anti-Semitic slurs, far-right memes with references to “white genocide,” along with also pro-Trump slogans. The channels’ comments sections were deactivated within an hour.
“Hate speech has no place on YouTube. We’ve invested heavily in teams along with also technology dedicated to removing hateful comments along with also videos along with also we take action on them when flagged by our users,” a spokesperson for YouTube told BuzzFeed News in a statement. “Due to the presence of hateful comments, we disabled comments on the livestream of today’s House Judiciary Committee hearing.” YouTube also confirmed the closures in a tweet.
The biggest channels showing the hearing on YouTube on Tuesday were PBS NewsHour’s YouTube channel, the official House Judiciary Committee Hearings’s YouTube channel, along with also Red Ice TV, a white nationalist YouTube channel based out of Sweden. PBS’s comment section was disabled first, then the official stream’s comment section, along with also then finally Red Ice’s.
YouTube’s disabling of comments will be ironic: House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat by fresh York, made special reference in his opening statement of the role social media platforms play in spreading hate speech along with also extremism in his opening statement.
“These platforms are utilized as conduits to spread vitriolic hate messages into every home along with also country. Efforts by media companies to counter This particular surge have fallen short, along with also social network platforms continue to be used as ready avenues to spread dangerous white nationalist speech,” Nalder said. “As the fresh Zealand attack showed, some hateful ideological rhetoric in which originates from the United States will be today used to inspire terror worldwide.”
The comment sections began to go down before the testimony of Alexandria Walden, who works on Google’s public policy counsel. A representative by Facebook was also present at Tuesday’s hearing. A representative by Twitter was not.
Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson Walden, a Democrat, about what exactly Google does to block extremist content on platforms like YouTube.
“Most recently we have made updates to our recommendation algorithm in order in which content on the borderline isn’t pushed out by our recommendation engine,” Walden said. “This particular can also be demonetized along with also comments can be disabled.”
Red Ice TV was the final channel to have its comments disabled. Their stream was titled “House Judiciary committee Hearing on Criminalizing Nationalism for White People” along with also This particular was not just a stream of the hearing on their channel — This particular had two hosts, well-known white nationalists Henrik Palmgren along with also Lana Lokteff, doing live commentary.
Red Ice TV’s stream was also monetized. Commenters were using the Super Chat feature to donate money to the channel during the hearing. At one point a user donated $100 along with also wrote, “This particular will be nothing although the elites along with also globalists setting up laws in which will be enacted in one particular pen stroke against the white race from the future. I am also a person of interest for donating to Red Ice through the years along with also I don’t f**king care…”
BuzzFeed News has reached out to Red Ice for comment.
Candace Owens, a black conservative activist along with also communications director for Talking Point USA, was also invited to testify on Tuesday. Her invitation was highly controversial. In February, Owens said, “If Hitler just wanted to make Germany great along with also have things run well, OK, fine.”
Owens used her time at Tuesday’s hearing to speak about her own experiences with racially motivated violence, along with also then railed against the press, Democrats, along with also the NAACP. She also said she believed in which anti-fascist activists — or “antifa” — should have been present instead of her.