Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, has been uncharacteristically quiet of late. No late night trips with his pals to intimidate targets, or relatives of targets. No livestreaming from protests and other events. No attacks on all those Scary Muslims™. No threats to sue those who do not dispense news in accordance with the dictates of Himself Personally Now. No sign of him at all, in fact.
Until yesterday evening, that is: a new video featuring The Great Man was posted on his Facebook page. But the first beneficiary of his claim “BIG NEWS: We are taking on the social media giants and inviting you to join us” was not himself, but Avi Yemini. Moreover, the background for Lennon’s rant at all those rotten social media platforms features Christmas trees. Bit late for that, isn’t it? But he got one thing right.
And that is the increasing reluctance of social media providers to not only host his content, but also allow him to make money off the back of it. It’s almost as if he knew what was coming next. What that meant was revealed by the people at BuzzFeed News.
The headline was not good news for Lennon. “YouTube Says Tommy Robinson Will No Longer Be Able To Make Money From His Videos … ‘We have suspended ads on Tommy Robinson’s YouTube channel as it breaches our advertising policies,’ a spokesperson told BuzzFeed News”. Ouch! And there was more. Rather a lot more.
“The anti-Islam activist and founder of the English Defence League had been monetising his videos through YouTube's platform, which allows video-makers to collect money from advertisers … On Thursday, YouTube told BuzzFeed News that it had suspended advertising on Robinson's channel - boasting more than 270,000 subscribers - for violating the company's advertising guidelines”. And more.
“In the 23-minute recap video of 2018, Robinson rails against ‘press-titutes’ and ‘left-wing big tech platforms in Silicon Valley’ … [he] also claimed there was a ‘rape jihad phenomenon’ in ‘pretty much in every major town and city in our country … It would wake a lot of people up to what's going on with the globalist, no-border bullshit and the fact we’re importing third-world alien cultures and treatment of women in Britain,’ he said”.
And the response from YouTube? “The video no longer has comments, sharing buttons, or suggested videos, and features a pre-screen warning that the YouTube community has identified it as ‘offensive or inappropriate for some audiences’ … His Instagram caption read: ‘Anyone who has watched my new yrs video know this is complete bollox. They want to remove my YouTube account.’” They. They are coming for him. The other.
This is, to no surprise at all, paranoid bullshit. YouTube has its terms and conditions, together with sanctions for those who cannot, or will not, comply with them. Lennon has overstepped the mark once too often. He needs to own the consequences.
But good to see a practical demonstration of why he needs to “take on the social media giants”. Because inciting hatred breaks the T&Cs. Boring but true.
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