Why did YouTube ban Right Wing Watch? Channel reinstated in few hours after 'ridiculous' move

'It's amusing to watch the right wing enablers of the biggest liar in the history of lying scream "gaslighting" when truth is restored to reality'

                            Why did YouTube ban Right Wing Watch? Channel reinstated in few hours after 'ridiculous' move
Right Wing Watch's tweet about its YouTube ban (Twitter)

YouTube said that it had on June 28 reinstated a channel run by Right Wing Watch that listed some of the most extreme statements of notable conservatives, hours after the Google-owned video platform had banned the channel for infringing its rules. Right Wing Watch also confirmed that YouTube informed the site on June 28 afternoon that their channel was back online. “We are glad that by reinstating our account, YouTube recognizes our position that there is a world of difference between reporting on offensive activities and committing them,” Right Wing Watch director Adele Stan said in a statement after the reinstatement.

“Without the ability to accurately portray dangerous behavior, meaningful journalism and public education about that behavior would cease to exist.” Stan added, “We hope this is the end of a years-long struggle with YouTube to understand the nature of our work. We also hope the platform will become more transparent about the process it uses to determine whether a user has violated its rules, which has always been opaque and has led to frustrating and inexplicable decisions and reversals such as the one we experienced today. We remain dedicated to exposing threatening and harmful activities on the Far Right and we are glad to have YouTube again available to us to continue our work.”


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In a series of screenshots, the Google-owned video platform notified the group that their official YouTube channel would be permanently eliminated from the site due to numerous violations of its community guidelines. Right Wing Watch appealed the suspension, which was also denied by YouTube, as the video streaming website claimed that the watchdog group, which monitors disinformation, conspiracies, and violent rhetoric from far-right media outlets and personalities—was in violation of its guidelines and terms of service. “Our efforts to expose the bigoted view and dangerous conspiracy theories spread by right-wing activists has now resulted in @YouTube banning our channel and removing thousands of our videos,” Right Wing Watch wrote. “We attempted to appeal this decision, and YouTube rejected it.”

According to CNBC, YouTube mentioned it mistook the large volume of videos on its site. YouTube automates much of the content moderation for the more than 500 hours of content that it says are uploaded every minute, and it said it tries to act quickly when a channel is mistakenly removed.



Who runs Right Wing Watch?

Right Wing Watch is run by the nonprofit organization 'People For the American Way' which was initially founded in 1981 as a liberal counterpoint to the conservative Christian group Moral Majority. Launched in 2007, Right Wing Watch has posted thousands of clips of prominent right-wing figures making controversial comments, perhaps most famously including televangelist Pat Robertson and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. In fact, Right Wing Watch’s exposure of Jones’ false and conspiratorial rhetoric was key to YouTube and other social media platforms eventually removing his channel InfoWars from their sites.

Even though the group's channel was reinstated, people kept on talking about the controversial group. Charles Johnson said, "I strongly suspect Right Wing Watch was targeted in a mass reporting effort by far right groups, and whoever handled this at YouTube was either absurdly clueless, or complicit." Another person said, "It's amusing to watch the right wing enablers of the biggest liar in the history of lying scream "gaslighting" when truth is restored to reality."

In October, RWW said that YouTube removed one of its videos documenting content related to the QAnon conspiracy theory, but had left up the original YouTube channel where the group found the content.




Mikaej Thalen "Google tells me that it has reinstated the YouTube channel for Right Wing Watch. "Right Wing Watch’s YouTube channel was mistakenly suspended, but upon further review, has now been reinstated."

Another one said,  "The decision by @YouTube to terminate @RightWingWatch's account was based on a failure to distinguish between people who engage in hate speech and those who report on it. Which is ridiculous."