British values and anti-Islam campaigner Tommy Robinson has had the most severe restrictions placed on a YouTube channel that the platform has ever enacted without completely banning someone.
You can no longer search for Tommy’s videos or even find and subscribe to his channel, you can only view his videos via clicking a direct link and then you are greeted by this YouTube trigger warning:
This severe YouTube restriction follows Tommy being banned from Facebook and Instagram in late February after the launch of his BBC expose Panodrama documentary. Online book publisher Amazon also pulled his book Mohammad’s Koran which Tommy described as “they are literally burning books”.
Since his Facebook ban Tommy had teamed up with former Australia patriot activist Avi Yemini in a new alt-media venture tr.news in an effort to beat the social media censors. During this period Yemini also lost his third Facebook page and has vowed to not use the platform anymore.
However one month later YouTube now says “After consulting with third-party experts, we are applying a tougher treatment to Tommy Robinson’s channel in keeping with our policies on borderline content” and that his “content will be placed behind an interstitial, removed from recommendations, and stripped of key features including live-streaming, comments, suggested videos, and likes”.
Much of the lobbying to have Tommy banned from YouTube came from far-left British Labour MP Tom Watson who wrote to Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai alleging “quite clear from the comments threads on stories documenting this decision, Yaxley-Lennon supporters are transferring over their virulent hate to YouTube”.
From the Conservative side Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright had urged YouTube to “reconsider their judgment” and claimed that having Tommy on the platform was “beyond the reach of the type of freedom of speech that we believe should be protected.”
Given the social media giants’ recent promise to crack down on extremist hate speech post the Christchurch mosque shooting we shouldn’t be surprised by YouTube’s recent change of policy.
However Tommy had been preparing for this next level deplaforming and will still be able to reach his followers via tr.news and through his email list and will explore setting up social media accounts on other platforms