YouTube has banned an Infowars account just one day after the channel The War Room popped up on the platform.
The account was terminated for violating the company’s terms of service, but a YouTube representative didn’t offer any information on what those terms were. Instead, the representative told The Verge that YouTube is committed to “preserving openness and balancing it with our responsibility to protect our community.”
The War Room’s first video on the channel featured host Owen Shroyer reading YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki’s recent letter to creators that spoke about borderline harmful content, according to Motherboard. The video, called “Breaking! YouTube CEO says ‘Alex Jones’ and ‘Infowars Ban Is Over,” reportedly had Shroyer using Wojcicki’s letter as a way to demonstrate that YouTube was allowing certain content and creators back on the platform.
“A commitment to openness is not easy,” Wojcicki wrote in her letter, adding that “hearing a broad range of perspectives ultimately makes us a stronger and more informed society.”
Infowars-related channels were previously shut down after Alex Jones’ channel was kicked off of the platform last year. Jones was permanently banned after he circumvented a 90-day live stream suspension, breaking YouTube’s community guidelines. Frequent Infowars correspondent, conspiracy theorist, and adjacent personality Paul Joseph Watson is still active on YouTube where he has close to 2 million subscribers.
YouTube instituted new policies in June to address hateful content as it tries to toughen its stance on borderline content (defined by YouTube as potentially harmful, but not in violation of its community guidelines), but even those rules are murky. Two prominent far-right European YouTubers, including white nationalist activist Martin Sellner, recently had their channels reinstated after being taken down, according to BuzzFeed. A YouTube representative referred to their channel takedowns as a mistake. Videos and channels are removed when their content is wholly dedicated to videos that are designed to spread hateful ideologies.
Wojcicki’s letter specifically noted that YouTube has to “strike the right balance between openness and responsibility.” It’s still seemingly unclear to creators and critics where and when that line is drawn.