YouTube restrictions on Tommy Robinson welcome but full ban needed, urges consumer watchdog

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April 02, 2019

YouTube has banned far-right figure Tommy Robinson from livestreaming and removed his videos from search results, in a sweeping crackdown on his account that, however, stops short of an outright ban.

International consumer watchdog SumOfUs calls the move a step in the right direction, but urges the company to take conclusive action and implement a full ban. Over 37,000 people have signed a SumOfUs petition calling on YouTube to close Robinson’s account.

YouTube remains the only major social media platform to host Robinson’s content, after Facebook and Instagram banned him in February and Twitter closed his account last year.

SumOfUs, which campaigns to hold big corporations accountable, pushed PayPal to ban Tommy Robinson from its platform last November with a petition that gained over 66,000 signatures.

Eoin Dubsky, campaigner at SumOfUs, said:

“Today’s action from YouTube is a step in the right direction but the company is slow off the mark and we urge them to close Tommy Robinson’s account without further delay.

“In the time it has taken YouTube executives to make this decision, Robinson has used the platform to continue to spread hate. Less than 48 hours after the Christchurch terrorist attack, YouTube enabled him to livestream an interview pushing the racist myth that ‘this [white] population’ risks being ‘replaced by mass, mass numbers of Islamic immigration’. The fact that this video is still available to view on Robinson’s account shows that today’s action from YouTube doesn’t go far enough. All big tech corporations must urgently adopt robust, transparent policies and processes that enable them to act systematically on insidious hate speech.

“Thousands of SumOfUs members want to see Tommy Robinson’s hateful YouTube account closed once and for all. Until this happens, the company is still enabling the hate he broadcasts. As YouTube is still broadcasting Tommy Robinson's videos, but hiding them from their search page, we have started this handy site for people to check for changes: istommyrobinsonstillonyoutube.com.”