YouTube takes more than a week to remove neo-Nazi video, report

It's the latest episode in YouTube's white nationalist problem.


Claire Goforth


Posted on Oct 9, 2019   Updated on May 20, 2021, 1:54 am CDT

For more than a week after it had been reported, a video produced by the Atomwaffen Division (AWD)—a neo-Nazi group linked to five murders that is under FBI investigation—remained live on YouTube, HuffPost reports.

In the video, which has since been removed for violating YouTube’s policy against hate speech, neo-Nazi and AWD adviser James Mason read propaganda from a script. Uploaded on Sept. 30, hundreds viewed the clip before it was removed yesterday. HuffPost noted that the video was reported to YouTube on Oct. 3 and several times subsequently.

Since its 2015 founding, AWD members have been linked to several murders and terrorist plots. The group’s objective is to overthrow the government, start a race war, and create a white ethnostate. AWD venerates Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and incorporates Satanism into its ideology.

On Monday, the Daily Beast reported that the FBI had filed charges against two members. The FBI has reportedly been investigating the group for domestic terrorism, which has spread to Canada and Europe, since at least the spring of 2018.

YouTube has previously faced criticism for allowing Nazi videos to fester on its site. In 2018, a Motherboard investigation found that the company took far longer to remove videos by Nazis than Islamic extremists. In some cases, Nazi videos remained on the platform for years. In February of that year, YouTube said it wouldn’t censor the AWD channel; a month later it reversed course and deleted the channel, though at the time copies of some of AWD’s videos remained on the site.

Also in 2018, YouTube promised to hire 10,000 people to assist its machine-learning algorithms in flagging videos that violated its terms of service.

In June, after years of criticism for being a haven for white nationalists, YouTube officially banned white supremacists.


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*First Published: Oct 9, 2019, 10:50 am CDT