YouTube, the video sharing platform, has come under pressure to ban the far-right activist Tommy Robinson. At the moment, this is the only major social media platform that the former EDL leader is not banned on.
The chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee, Damian Collins, went on the record on Wednesday stating that YouTube should follow Facebook and block the far-right extremist’s account.
“I believe YouTube should also ban Tommy Robinson from their platform.”
“Far-right groups are exploiting social media to spread their messages of hate, and the YouTube next up feature helps them by directing viewers to even more of this content once, as soon as, they start to engage with it.
On Tuesday, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, the real name of Tommy Robinson, was banned from Facebook and Instagram for posting content which “violate our policies around organised hate”. A Facebook spokesman said Robinson’s page had repeatedly used “dehumanising language” and urged violence against Muslims.
Tommy Robinson’s account was issued a final written warning on 24 January, over posts including one “calling Muslims filthy scumbags” and “calling on people to ‘make war’ on Muslims”. Rewinding back to March 2018, Lennon’s Twitter account was blocked. This now leaves YouTube as the only major platform for him to spread his message. YouTube’s policy on hate speech actually prohibits anything that promotes violence or hatred against individuals or groups based on attributes including religion, race, immigration status or nationality.
Last month, PayPal has closed the account of Stephen (Tommy?), hindering his fundraising activities. The ex-EDL leader claims that this reduced donations by 70%. YouTube also suspended all adverts on his account, but the account still remained active.
Tommy has called out to Donald Trump to help him fight any ban that YouTube might impose.