Right Wing Watch
, a nonprofit watchdog that highlights and warns about conspiracy
, and hate speech
on the far right, was permanently banned on YouTube
on Monday before being lifted later that day.
The popular channel, which highlights and warns viewers about far-right conspiracy theories, disinformation, and hate speech, had three strikes in 90 days, including one on a video uploaded eight years ago, according to YouTube, prompting the ban.
A spokesperson for YouTube told Stardia in a statement that the channel was "mistakenly suspended" and that the error was obvious upon review.
The company blamed the error on the sheer volume of videos hosted on the website, but RWW stated that it had appealed YouTube's decision following the ban and had been denied.
“Our efforts to expose the bigoted views and dangerous conspiracy theories spread by right-wing activists has now resulted in YouTube banning our channel and removing thousands of our videos,” the nonprofit said in a tweet Monday morning, before the ban was lifted. “We attempted to appeal this decision, and YouTube rejected it.”
Our efforts to expose the bigoted views and dangerous conspiracy theories spread by right-wing activists have resulted in @YouTube banning our channel and removing thousands of our videos; we attempted to appeal, but YouTube denied our request. pic.twitter.com/74Rfi31uQe — Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) June 28, 2021
“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 engaging in them,” Right Wing Watch director Adele Stan said in an emailed statement to Stardia.
“Without the ability to accurately portray dangerous behavior, meaningful journalism
and public education
about that behavior would cease to exist,” Stan added, “and we hope that this marks the end of a years-long struggle with YouTube to understand the nature
of our work.”
Stan was also dissatisfied with YouTube's lack of transparency in both its rules and enforcement.
Right Wing Watch sifts through and highlights content from far-right figures such as Christian Broadcasting Network
founder Pat Robertson and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
The saved clips are a valuable resource because they are frequently removed by their original author, who can then later deny making a particular claim.
This includes, for example, a 2013 video in which Robertson makes the absurd claim that gay men wear special rings to cut people
and infect them with HIV/AIDS when they shake hands.
CBN removed the video from its website and had duplicate copies removed from other hosting platforms, including YouTube, until RWW successfully argued for its reinstatement under fair use protections.