Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube, said in an interview on Monday that the company was “reviewing” its QAnon guidelines, but had not committed to an outright ban like Facebook did last week.
Susan Wojcicki speaks on stage at the WIRED25 Summit in San Francisco.
Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images for WIRED25
In an interview on Boss Files podcast with CNN host Poppy Harlow, Wojcicki said YouTube is “watching QAnon very carefully” and has already “implemented a large number of different policies that have helped maintain this responsibly”.
Currently, Google-owned YouTube is only removing QAnon content when it violates other policies related to hate or harassment and instead seeks to de-reinforce “borderline” content that doesn’t explicitly violate its rules .
Why YouTube is taking a less aggressive approach than Facebook, Wojcicki said, “I think the way to do this is by actually getting the guidelines right. And our platform is very different from how Facebook works by our going to take an approach which makes the most sense for our platforms. “
YouTube previously said that changes in its algorithm resulted in an 80% decrease in referral views on prominent QAnon channels.
YouTube also stated that it “removed tens of thousands of Q-related videos and closed hundreds of Q-related channels for violating our hate and harassment guidelines since 2018”.
“I think any policy has to be very clearly defined. What exactly does that mean – “a QAnon group” – exactly? “Wojcicki said in the interview.” That’s kind of thing that we need to set about the guidelines and make sure we’re super clear. So we’re developing our guidelines here. It’s not that we don’t look at it or that we don’t want to make any changes. “
Wojcicki’s comments come when Facebook and Instagram completely banned QAnon last week, the company’s most significant and comprehensive campaign to date against far-right conspiracy theory. Twitter has also blocked QAnon topics from its trending area and announced that it will deactivate the QAnon content in its search function in July. QAnon supporters believe that President Donald Trump is secretly fighting a ring of child trafficking run by the Deep State and the global elites worshiped by Satan.
What to look for
Even so, getting rid of QAnon completely will be difficult, as followers often co-opt legitimate topics like #SaveTheChildren and obscure their terminology to dodge filters. QAnon continues to have a strong presence, particularly on Twitter, despite company policies.