YouTube's crackdown on extremist videos has inadvertently shut down educational channels featuring old Nazi footage

YouTube's crackdown on extremist videos has inadvertently shut down educational channels featuring old Nazi footage

adolf hitler 1931

Associated Press

Adolf Hitler in 1931.


In its attempt to crack down on videos promoting hate speech and extremist ideologies, YouTube has inadvertently blocked some channels featuring archival footage of Nazis and Adolf Hitler.

The Guardian reports that some history teachers have seen their channels deleted, with YouTube citing "content that promotes hatred or violence against members of a protected group." The teachers says their channels featured footage of Nazi-era Hitler speeches and clips from old documentaries, which are used for educational purposes and shown in classrooms.

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"It's absolutely vital that YouTube work to undo the damage caused by their indiscriminate implementation as soon as possible," Romanian teacher Scott Allsop told the Guardian. "Access to important material is being denied wholesale as many other channels are left branded as promoting hate when they do nothing of the sort."

Read more: YouTube will remove thousands of videos supporting white supremacy, Nazis and conspiracy theories that deny the existence of mass shootings and other violent events


The actions taken against these educational channels come after YouTube's announcement last week it was further cracking down on "videos alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion." YouTube said the updated policy included a ban on content promoting or glorifying Nazi ideology.

The role of YouTube in spreading misinformation and failing to police hate speech has been widely debated. Last week, YouTube failed to act quickly when a popular creator spurred homophobic and racist slurs at a Vox journalist. The incident garnered massive amounts of attention, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai said this weekend that the Google-owned video platform isn't "quite where we want to be" in its efforts.

The two teachers cited in the Guardian's article have reportedly had their channels and videos reinstated following an appeal. Although YouTube didn't respond about the Guardian's story in particular, a spokesperson told Business Insider that YouTube "may make exceptions" to its policies on hateful content if there's "sufficient educational or documentary context."

The spokesperson also said that YouTube will "act quickly to reinstate" videos that are removed by mistake.