YouTube has re-banned a channel from InfoWars, the far-right American conspiracy theory website owned by Alex Jones, after it temporarily reappeared on the platform by circumventing YouTube’s terms of service yesterday.
The channel, dubbed War Room, became active again yesterday, Vice reports. On War Room, which is aimed at afternoon commuters, host Owen Shroyer uploaded several videos — with the first titled Breaking! YouTube CEO says ‘Alex Jones’ and ‘InfoWars’ Ban Is Over. — before the channel was re-banned. (YouTube first banned all InfoWars channels last August, at the same time that Jones was de-platformed by iTunes, Spotify, Twitter, and Facebook).
To be clear, Wojcicki never mentioned Jones or InfoWars in her letter, and Vice reports that YouTube deleted the channel shortly after its own report went live, meaning that it had not been up for longer than 24 hours.
YouTube said that the War Room channel was able to temporarily return after circumventing its Terms Of Service, but declined to provide any additional details as to how. “We’re committed to preserving openness and balancing it with our responsibility to protect our community,” a spokesperson told Tubefilter in a statement. “This means taking action against channels that continue to violate our policies.”
The incident highlights the hot-button complexity of balancing an open platform with maintaining a safe space for users — a conundrum that CEO Susan Wojcicki wrote about in a letter to creators earlier this week. While Wojcicki’s letter stated that committing to an open platform is “not easy” when it means hosting content that is controversial or offensive, she posited that a diversity of viewpoints makes for a “stronger” society.
That said, many continue to criticize YouTube for hosting egregious videos, with a recent study having found that the video platform serves as a radicalization pipeline that drives users toward increasingly alt-right content.