YouTube has removed a conspiracy theory video that alleged one of the students who’s been advocating for stricter gun laws in the wake of the Florida high school shooting is an actor.
The action came hours after the tech site Motherboard reported that the video, asserting false claims about David Hogg, was among the top trending videos on YouTube.
Hogg has been the subject of attacks and online smears in the days since the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. The 17-year-old is one of an outspoken group of students calling for better gun control measures after witnessing the massacre of 17 students and staff.
“I’m not a crisis actor,” Hogg told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “I’m someone who had to witness this and live through this and I continue to be having to do that.”
Earlier, the Gateway Pundit blog claimed that the articulate young activist has been “coached” and was “merely reading from a script.” It suggested that the child of a retired FBI agent was being “used as a pawn for anti-Trump rhetoric.”
The YouTube video continued the assault on the teen’s character, using a televised interview with CBS 2 in Los Angeles — in which he discussed a friend’s dispute with a lifeguard involving a Boogie Board — to suggest that Hogg was somehow a paid actor. The video had attracted nearly 200,000 views Tuesday before it was removed for violating YouTube’s policy regarding harassment and bullying
“This video should never have appeared in Trending,” said a YouTube spokesperson. “Because the video contained footage from an authoritative news source, our system misclassified it. As soon as we became aware of the video, we removed it from Trending and from YouTube for violating our policies. We are working to improve our systems moving forward.”
YouTube has pledged to do a better job of moderating content, especially in the wake of criticisms of YouTuber Logan Paul. CEO Susan Wojcicki said the company would increase the size of it staff to do a better job of policing content, even as it works to refine the machine learning algorithms to better identify videos that violate its terms of service.
Clearly, that’s a work in progress. See here: