GOP Rep. Levels Grave Warning at YouTube After 'Hate Speech' Purge
The great YouTube purge has begun.
Recently, the Google-owned video company made massive waves in the political community by taking drastic action against content that it deemed “hateful” and “harmful misinformation.”
According to Breitbart’s Allum Bokhari, YouTube’s purge has also demonetized “independent journalist Ford Fischer, libertarian anti-globalist news channel Press For Truth, SJW critic Sinatra_Says, and conservative comedian Steven Crowder.”
A blog post by YouTube attempted to explain their position:
“In 2017, we introduced a tougher stance towards videos with supremacist content, including limiting recommendations and features like comments and the ability to share the video. This step dramatically reduced views to these videos (on average 80%).
“Today, we’re taking another step in our hate speech policy by specifically prohibiting videos alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion based on qualities like age, gender, race, caste, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status. This would include, for example, videos that promote or glorify Nazi ideology, which is inherently discriminatory. Finally, we will remove content denying that well-documented violent events, like the Holocaust or the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, took place.”
If you aren’t convinced that YouTube is treating users fairly and deserves greater scrutiny, you aren’t the only one.
House Minority Leader, California Rep. Kevin McCarthy, sent an ominous warning to YouTube via Twitter.
YouTube seems to be more concerned w being a publisher than a platform. https://t.co/C5vVOZgCr4
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) June 6, 2019
“YouTube seems to be more concerned w being a publisher than a platform,” McCarthy tweeted.
The distinction between a platform and a publisher is not lost on the black suits in the boardroom of YouTube.
The short answer is that there is currently a government-enforced shield protecting YouTube — and Facebook and Google and Twitter — from civil liability over removing content as long as the company is a platform rather than a publisher.
If you are wondering about how free speech for private entities fits in here, I’ll try to explain. Congress enacted Section 230, a regulation that says platforms cannot be held liable as publishers of content and also says that a platform cannot be held liable for removing content that is “obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable.”
The Electronic Frontier Foundation specifically notes, “CDA 230 makes the U.S. a safe haven for websites that want to provide a platform for controversial or political speech and a legal environment favorable to free expression.”
Youtube and other “big tech” companies want to lean on Section 230 as a get out jail free card while they demonetize and de-platform their users. (Youtube demonetized The Western Journal’s YouTube account almost two years ago and has rejected every appeal since.)
The problem with that approach is that the purpose of Section 230 is not to restrict, but to expand the content available on the internet. It’s clear from a reading of the regulation that the drafters valued the internet as “a forum for a true diversity of political discourse, unique opportunities for cultural development, and myriad avenues for intellectual activity.”
Section 230 actually lists under the “policy” section that the United States seeks “to preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet.”
So when anti-free speech leftists try to use Section 230 as a justification for broad censorship, they are simply incorrect.
The heads of YouTube know it, and now they know that Kevin McCarthy knows it, too.
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