New Delhi: YouTube has confirmed that cow vigilante and self-proclaimed gau rakshak (cow protector) Monu Manesar has been “indefinitely suspended” from its “YouTube Partner Program,” which means he can no longer make money from the videos he posts.
YouTube has also taken down nine videos from his channel for violating “Community Guidelines” and put age restrictions on two others. YouTube conveyed this by email on Tuesday, February 28, to the the US based news website, Codastory. An article on the site also records that YouTube has now taken note of violation of its creator’s policy by Monu Manesar, a suspect in the alleged murder of two Muslim men who cow vigilantes had accused of smuggling cattle.
A few days before the double murder in Bhiwani, an investigation by Alt News’ Shinjinee Majumdar found that Monu and his team have uploaded several violent videos on social media in the past with little attention from law enforcement authorities. Alarmingly, Monu enjoys a massive following on social media – he has over 2 lakh followers on YouTube and 83,000 followers on his Facebook page where he often uploads content in violation of Meta and YouTube’s safety guidelines.
In many photos uploaded on his social media, his team can be spotted grabbing visibly injured men by their hair. Monu and his supporters claim they are all cow smugglers.
Meta is yet to act against any of the gory content posted on Monu’s Facebook page.
The news of YouTube’s action comes as protests around Nasir and Junaid’s horrific killings – they were reportedly set ablaze by the cow vigilantes – refuse to die. Critics have slammed the Haryana government for its alleged inaction against violent vigilante groups who reportedly operate with unparalleled impunity, especially in the Mewat region of the state.
Other than law enforcement in the state of Haryana, this case has put a spotlight on the role of Big Tech social media companies like YouTube and Meta who have often been accused of being unable to sift out hate and polarising content on their platform. They are accused of ending up amplifying polarising content and also enabling fund raising at the back of the violence that is often freely streamed online.
A video was found posted on Monu’s Instagram after the FIR naming him was filed, in which he urged people to mobilise support in favour of the lynching accused.