Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Report: Multiple and Severe Hate Speech on YouTube

Press Release: Severe Hate Speech on YouTube

Melbourne, Australia, August 1, 2012… The Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI) today released a report documenting serious racial hatred on YouTube. The report highlights how one user in a single day uploaded 1710 videos, the vast majority of which were blatant hate speech. YouTube responded by closing the user’s account within 24 hours of receiving an advanced copy of OHPI’s report.

OHPI’s CEO, Dr Andre Oboler, commented that
“YouTube must be commended for its speedy response to OHPI’s report, but it is concerning that such hateful content, and in such volume in a single account, was able to remain on the YouTube site for over a month without triggering internal warnings.”
OHPI’s release note that accompanies the report mentions that at least one video was flagged multiple times within days of being uploaded, and that YouTube was notified by e-mail of both this video and the account more generally by a peak Jewish community body, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ), within that first week.

The report notes that,
“the volume of content and the short time in which it was uploaded are indicative of a more serious violation. A comparison can be drawn to copyright law where commercial scale can tip the matter from a civil action into a criminal offence.”

The report highlights the need for “greater sanctions both by the state and by the platform provider” when such serious violations occur.

The report lists a variety of sanctions and approaches that could be used to extend the penalty for racial vilification and the promotion of other forms of hate speech on platforms such as YouTube beyond the confines of the individual platform. “When the sanction for copyright infringement is greater, and more rigorously enforced, than the sanction for promoting genocide, we need to stop and question our priorities” Dr Oboler concluded.


The Online Hate Prevention Institute was established in January 2012 as a dedicated organisation to combat online hate and to reduce the emotional and physical harm that such hate can cause.

Dr Oboler is an internationally recognised expert in online hate and social media. He is CEO of the Online Hate Prevention Institute and co-chair of the Online Antisemitism working group of the Global Forum to Combat Antisemitism. He holds a PhD in Computer Science from Lancaster University (UK).

See the release note and a link to the full report: Multiple and Severe Hate Speech on YouTube  

Key points of the report:
  • The report shows the volume of content users can upload in a relatively short amount of time
  • The report highlights that existing reporting processes such as flagging videos do not give a sufficiently fast response
  • The ineffectiveness of the deterrent of account suspension is discussed
  • The report discusses the need for greater cooperation to enable penalties that stretch beyond the platform (e.g. YouTube in this case)
  • The release notes highlight the positive educational effect of YouTube's message explaining why the account was closed
  • Ultimately, better approaches are needed if we are to avoid falling behind in the fight against the deliberate spread of hate
Read the entire report: Multiple and Severe Hate Speech on YouTube 

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