A new YouTube rule is now in place, forbidding malicious comments intended as insults and/or vicious threats insinuating violence.

The new rule, which gives support to the principle of protecting people against discrimination based on attributes pertaining to color, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family or carer responsibility and physical as well as mental disability.

Google’s video-sharing platform made it clear that the new policy applies to “everyone” including politicians, celebrities and YouTube users who have attained star status. The general public is warned that those who consistently break YouTube’s policies will be penalized by diminishing their ability to earn revenue from advertisements, or by the deletion of videos and consequentially, removal and closure of their YouTube channel.

The new policy mentioned certain exceptions if the language or remarks carried by the video are parts of a “standup comedy act, scripted satire, or musical composition” However, the guidelines included context that specifically stated exemptions should not be regarded as a “free pass” to claim that the malicious or harassing content were made in jest or meant as a joke.

How YouTube Intends to Adjudicate Over Violations of the New Anti-Harassment Policy

Neal Mohan, the Chief Product Officer of YouTube said in a BBC interview that individual complaints will be arbitrated on a case-to-case basis; to which the context of the video in question will be taken into account. Mr. Mohan stated further that

Even if the video does not cross the line, the new harassment policy will take into account a pattern of behaviour on which to base enforcement decisions pertaining to the new rule.

Prior to the announcement of the new policy, the video-sharing platform already took action by banning videos found containing explicit threats of violence or words encouraging harassment of individual/s, YouTube had also deleted videos that carried bullying remarks about someone’s appearance, as well as texts that revealed another person’s personal information.