YouTube to fund videos that ‘counter hate’ as pressure over extremism grows
YouTube is to spend more than $5m funding creators on the video-sharing website who “counter hate and promote tolerance”, as Google faces continued political pressure to do more to tackle extremism.
The money will be allocated to the company’s Creators for Change programme, a collective of more than 100 YouTubers that was created “to encourage empathy and understanding around the world”.
Juniper Downs, YouTube’s head of policy, said: “Video is a powerful medium to open minds to new perspectives and shared experiences. Creators prove that to us every single day. And we think Creators for Change in 2018 will reach and inspire even bigger audiences.”
The programme “encourages and educates creators about using the platform positively for social change,” says YouTube. It was launched in 2017, and has so far worked with 39 creators across the world. In the coming year, the company says it will “engage more creators in the programme, arm the wider YouTube community with new tools and education on how to create change and empower more young people to use their voices to encourage positive social messages.”
YouTube has faced criticism for the tone of some of the content it hosts. This week, YouTube star Logan Paul was forced to apologise after uploading a mocking video filmed in a Japanese suicide hotspot; a year before, PewDiePie, once one of the biggest creators on the site, lost sponsors and a deal with Disney for a history of antisemitic shock humour in his videos.
The site is also popular among the far right, with a number of the leading lights of the “alt-right” movement using it as the centrepiece of their online presence. One, Paul Watson, wrote in March that “Twitter is a tiny echo chamber. I’m not sure the left understands the monumental ass-whupping being dished out to them on YouTube.”
In January, YouTube announced that it would manually review videos before placing them on its top-tier advertising programme, Google Preferred. “Ads will only run on videos that have been verified to meet our ad-friendly guidelines,” the company said.
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