YouTube Reinstates Right Wing Watch, Says Ban Was a Mistake

Hours after the progressive media watchdog group Right Wing Watch said they were permanently banned from uploading content on YouTube Monday, the video-sharing platform reinstated the group's channel and said the ban was merely a "mistake."

A YouTube spokesperson told Newsweek Monday afternoon that "Right Wing Watch's YouTube channel was mistakenly suspended, but upon further review, has now been reinstated." The company added that the mistake may have made been due to a high volume of content, but they attempted to move quickly to undo the wrongful ban.

The reinstatement came several hours after Right Wing Watch said they were informed by YouTube that they would be suspended from the platform for violating the company's community guidelines.

The media watchdog group, which operates as a project of the liberal advocacy group People for the American Way, frequently posts video clips to expose extremism from right-wing politicians, preachers and other figures to an audience of tens of thousands of subscribers.

Early on Monday, Right Wing Watch posted several statements online criticizing YouTube for its supposed ban.

"Our efforts to expose the bigoted view and dangerous conspiracy theories spread by right-wing activists has now resulted in @YouTube banning our channel and removing thousands of our videos," Right Wing Watch said in a statement early Monday. "We attempted to appeal this decision, and YouTube rejected it."

Official Statement:

— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) June 28, 2021

Following YouTube's announcement, the group released a statement saying they were "glad" Youtube reinstated their channel. Nonetheless, the group acknowledged that they have been embroiled in a years-long battle with YouTube over the use of extremist content.

"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 committing them," the statement said.

"We hope this is the end of a years-long struggle with YouTube to understand the nature of our work. We also hope the platform will become more transparent about the process it uses to determine whether a user has violated its rules, which has always been opaque and has led to frustrating and inexplicable decisions and reversals such as the one we experienced today. We remain dedicated to exposing threatening and harmful activities on the Far Right and we are glad to have YouTube again available to us to continue our work."

Right Wing Watch senior fellow Kyle Mantyla said Monday that issues between YouTube and the group had escalated over the past year, as the platform attempted to regulate information related to COVID-19 and the 2020 presidential election, NBC News reported.

Mantyla said that the project got two "strikes" from YouTube in April for clips about election-related conspiracy theories, before receiving a third "strike" earlier this month for an eight-year-old video of a religious broadcaster denouncing gay people.

"Their inability to differentiate between the people who are trying to advocate this stuff and those who are trying to document and counter it is at the heart of the problem here," he told the news outlet.

Following the channel's reinstatement, the group added Monday that "we remain dedicated to exposing threatening and harmful activities on the Far Right and we are glad to have YouTube again available to us to continue our work."

YouTube said Monday that they mistakenly banned Right Wing Watch, a progressive media watchdog group, from uploading content on its platform. Here, the YouTube logo is seen outside the YouTube Space studios in London, taken on June 4, 2019. Olly Curtis/Future/Getty Images