YouTube punted former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, White nationalist activist Richard Spencer and far-right commentator Stefan Molyneux from the video-sharing platform Monday.
Citing violations of its rules against hate speech, YouTube purged their channels on the platform a year after updating its policies to prohibit White supremacist content.
“We have strict policies prohibiting hate speech on YouTube, and terminate any channel that repeatedly or egregiously violates those policies,” said a YouTube spokesperson.
YouTube updated its hate speech policies in June 2019 to explicitly prohibit “videos alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion based on qualities like age, gender, race, caste, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status.”
More than 25,000 channels have been terminated from the platform since the policy was updated, a YouTube spokesperson said in a statement, including most recently several connected to Mr. Duke, Mr. Spencer and Mr. Molyneux. In addition to each of their main accounts, YouTube also removed the channel shared by a White nationalist think tank led by Mr. Spencer and its website — the National Policy Institute and Radix Journal, respectively — as well as two channels associated with the American Renaissance, a White nationalist publication.
Mr. Spencer said on Twitter that he planned to appeal the suspension, but he added it appeared to be “part of a systemic, coordinated effort.”
Mr. Molyneux, a Canadian whose YouTube channel had more than 900,000 subscribers before being terminated, rejected the apparent explanation for his ban in a video statement.
“The accusation is the usual one that I am fomenting violence and hatred and so on, which is not true at all,” Mr. Molyneux said. “The reality is that the book-burning is underway.”
Mr. Duke, a former KKK leader who later served briefly in the Louisiana state House of Representatives, did not immediately return a message requesting comment.
YouTube terminated the six accounts the same day Reddit, another one of the web’s most popular websites, banned hundreds of forums, or “subreddits,” for violating rules against its policies against hate speech. Twitch, a popular streaming platform, separately said Monday it was temporarily suspending President Trump’s account for “hateful conduct.”