On Tuesday, Breitbart.com and others reported that YouTube is now set to work with left-wing groups like the Anti-Defamation League and will censor videos flagged by users even if they do not violate any of the site’s terms of service.
According to Breitbart:
According to a post on YouTube’s official blog, videos will now be subject to the rule of the mob. If enough users flag a video as “hate speech” or “violent extremism,” YouTube may impose restrictions on the content even if it breaks none of the platform’s rules.
We’ll soon be applying tougher treatment to videos that aren’t illegal but have been flagged by users as potential violations of our policies on hate speech and violent extremism. If we find that these videos don’t violate our policies but contain controversial religious or supremacist content, they will be placed in a limited state. The videos will remain on YouTube behind an interstitial, won’t be recommended, won’t be monetized, and won’t have key features including comments, suggested videos, and likes.
YouTube has also rolled out a “trusted flagger” program, in which 15 “expert NGOs and institutions” to help them identify hate speech and extremism on their platform.
Among these organizations are the No Hate Speech Movement, a left-wing project pushed by the Council of Europe, as well as the Anti-Defamation League, an organization whose president has been accused of “manufacturing outrage” by the World Jewish Congress.
The ADL, by the way, is the same organization that published what was called a “murder hit list” of “alt-right” and so-called “alt-lite” personalities — read: Those who support President Trump. The group also labeled a cartoon frog as “hate speech.”
In short, YouTubers who do not violate any of the site’s rules can still see their content censored if certain people don’t like the message. The videos won’t be removed, but will be placed in a form of purgatory, where they cannot be monetized or promoted. Additionally,
News of the move did not sit well with those who post to the platform, the Daily Caller said:
“If a video doesn’t break YouTube’s terms of services then they absolutely SHOULD NOT be attempting to dampen the reach of the video any further,” said YouTuber Annand “Bunty King” Virk, who raised his concerns with The Daily Caller. “Who determines what’s passable and what isn’t? At what point do we finally realize that saying the right thing isn’t always about saying what people want to hear?”
“By these standards, if YouTube existed previous to the Emancipation Act, they’d be censoring videos criticizing slave owners, since being anti-slavery wasn’t popular… at all,” he added. “The popular opinion isn’t always the right opinion.”
Matt Jarbo, who goes by MundaneMatt on YouTube, shared his views with The Daily Caller on the move. “They know its almost a non-issue completely,” Jarbo said. “But due to the controversies surrounding those videos, they’ve gotten a much larger spotlight than they deserve.”
“I do not trust their ability [to automatically flag extremist content],” he said. “I think they have an algorithm in place to help combat those issues, but it’s not narrow enough to not impact the skeptical/anti-SJW content.”
YouTuber Jeff Holiday told The Daily Caller that he doesn’t worry about the policy affecting his revenue, as he’s already diversified his income with other platforms, but worries that the crackdown will affect other creators.
“The move to counter extremist content is of course a good one in theory,” Holiday said. “But the language used in their announcement does not fill me with confidence it will be restricted to legitimate extremism. I remain optimistic but wary.”
“YouTube has a clear bias given who they choose to promote for free on their site such as Francesca Ramsey who perpetually produces vastly disliked videos,” he remarked.
“That isn’t to say there is a case for them censoring controversial content. I’ve had a few videos marked advertiser unfriendly, but it hasn’t been something perpetual. But hearing they might crack down further does concern me greatly. Again, not for the income, but for the potential disincentives it may cause future creators of controversial politics.”
“I do think there are valid concerns in Google possibly funding legitimate extremist enterprises, but the fact is that people like to abuse systems, especially automated ones,” said YouTuber Chris Maldonado, who’s also known as Chris Ray Gun. “It’s really only a matter of time before this backfires in some ridiculous way.”
The ADL lists relatives of Nazi occupation survivors alongside actual Nazis, but you can trust them to patrol "hate speech" on YouTube. pic.twitter.com/uAPsu3PY4k
— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) August 1, 2017
They'll flag anyone they don't like, stop monetization, stop suggested videos…and even comments.
Might be time to make some big moves… https://t.co/hDog9LmndD
— Dave Rubin (@RubinReport) August 1, 2017
Of course, when YouTube removes a video, the video can easily be re-uploaded or a mirrored version can spread to different channels. Often times, a video removal only brings more attention to the video and encourages people to re-upload it so it can reach a wider audience. So this decision by YouTube seems like a calculated effort to prevent the spread of offensive content without fully censoring it.
Right-wing alternative media figures and conspiracy theorists have been complaining for weeks that YouTube is already manipulating the algorithms to limit their reach and revenue. And this announcement will likely only add to their resentment of a platform that they rely upon to reach their audiences.
“My video exposing CNN for being fake news was taken down by YouTube saying that I was fake news,” said media analyst Mark Dice, further explaining that YouTube didn’t give him a community or copyright strike, they simply set the video to “private,” which made it invisible to the public.
The video was restored after Dice encouraged his followers to “tweet storm” YouTube’s customer service.
Indeed, there certainly appears to be a propaganda war being waged on those whose opinions fall somewhere to the right of Joseph Stalin.
Paul Joseph Watson, who has over 1 million subscribers on YouTube, addressed the issue:
As Adina Kutnicki, an investigative journalist based in Israel, and I documented in our book, “Banned: How Facebook enables militant Islamic jihad,” censorship like this happens because federal law, specifically Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, sanctions it.
That means Congress needs to act, and act fast, to preserve free speech on social media sites like YouTube and Facebook.
H/T: Gateway Pundit
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And if you’re as concerned about Facebook censorship as we are, go here and order this book: