YouTube Enlists Controversial Southern Poverty Law Center to Police Videos

YouTube unveiled their new paid subscription service at the YouTube Space LA in Playa Del Rey, Los Angeles, California, United States October 21, 2015. | (Photo: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

The controversial Southern Poverty Law Center, a far-left group, is now monitoring videos posted on YouTube.  

Founded in 1971 to help with legal battles against the Ku Klux Klan, in recent years the SPLC has garnered criticism for labeling several conservative organizations as "hate groups."

The Daily Caller reported Tuesday that the SPLC is one over a hundred non-government entities that monitors YouTube's content as part of its "Trusted Flaggers" program.

"A handful of YouTube's 'Trusted Flaggers,' including the Anti-Defamation League and No Hate Speech — a European organization focused on combatting intolerance — have gone public with their participation in the program," The Daily Caller reports.

"The vast majority of the groups in the program have remained hidden behind their confidentiality agreements."

Critics have accused the SPLC of inciting violence against conservative individuals and organizations, linking it to the 2012 Family Research Council office shooting and the student protests against Charles Murray at Middlebury College last year.

The SPLC listed the FRC on its online hate groups map, enabling the shooter to find the organization's headquarters. 

Following the shooting at the FRC, the SPLC issued a statement saying that its organization "deplores all violence, and our thoughts are with the wounded victim, Leo Johnson, his family and others who lived through the attack."

Last August, D. James Kennedy Ministries filed a lawsuit against the SPLC, Amazon, and Guidestar when Amazon denied DJK Ministries access to the AmazonSmile program after the SPLC labeled the ministry a hate group for its opposition to homosexuality.

"SPLC acted knowingly, intentionally, and with actual malice in publishing the hate map that included the ministry and in publishing the SPLC transmissions to Guidestar that included the ministry," read the suit.

"SPLC's conduct in making these publications was beyond the reckless disregard for the truth standard required by Alabama law for punitive damages."

Last month, the conservative nonprofit PragerU reported that YouTube "restricted" its newest video on Planned Parenthood just hours after it was posted.

After the video was posted, PragerU took to its Twitter page to explain that the new video has suffered the same fate that many of its other videos have — it was classified by YouTube as "restricted."

This means that if a user has their privacy settings set to "Restricted Mode," they will not able to watch the video. The Restricted Mode setting is one regularly used by parents to prevent their children from accessing inappropriate material.

Likewise, after YouTube enacted a new advertiser-friendly strategy in 2017 that gives more control to brands over where their ads show up on the online video sharing platform, alarms have been sounded that YouTube might be unfairly demonetizing videos posted by Trump supporters, conservatives and Christians.

As reports have surfaced in the last few months showing that conservatives of many stripes have had their videos marked as "unsuitable for all advertisers" by the Google-owned platform — thus making them ineligible to receive advertising revenue — YouTube is urging video uploaders who feel their videos have been demonetized unfairly, to appeal for "manual review."

In September, a YouTube spokesperson told The Christian Post that the advertising strategy has not only negatively impacted conservatives but has also impacted "political channels on the right and left."

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