Four black YouTube creators filed a class action lawsuit against the platform this week, alleging that its algorithm is racially discriminating against them.
The lawsuit, filed in California, claims that YouTube has “absolute, and ‘unfettered’ control” over 95 percent of all public videos, and uses this control to partially exclude black channels and videos from earning revenue, the Washington Post reports.
Creators Kimberly Carleste Newman, Lisa Cabrera, Catherine Jones, and Denotra Nicole Lewis allege that YouTube uses its software to profile and target users based “wholly or in part” on race, Bloomberg Law reports. (RELATED EXCLUSIVE: Google Employees Debated Burying Conservative Media In Search)
Each creator claims that their videos have been removed or archived for unknown or unjust reasons, such as falsely claimed nudity or hate speech.
YouTube has faced lawsuits for allegedly discriminatory practices in the past. The company is currently battling a lawsuit filed by LGBT YouTube creators last summer.
If you missed Susan’s letter to the community last week, check out the video on her channel now. https://t.co/IbVZFe366B
— YouTube (@YouTube) June 16, 2020
YouTube last week pledged $100 million to “amplify” the voices and perspectives of black creators across the platform. Along with the multi-year fund, the company will host live steam fundraising events, as well as spotlight videos and channels highlighting racial justice issues.
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki wrote in a June 11 blog post that the platform’s updated, more “stringent” hate speech and harassment policies have removed over 100,000 videos and 100 million comments last quarter alone.
YouTube has declined to comment on the lawsuit, but has previously denied that its software is discriminatory, claiming that its algorithm is protected under the law.