New YouTube Content Restrictions Subject ‘Offensive’ Videos to Digital Exile| The Daily Dose – 8/25/2017
Yesterday, YouTube officially began its biggest crackdown on ‘offensive’ content to date. Announced by Google in June, this four-part program’s stated purpose is to ‘fight terrorism online’. But behind the virtue-signaling language lies a disturbing ulterior motive.
After more than 250 advertisers boycotted the service in March for allowing ads to appear alongside ‘extremist’ content, YouTube’s parent company, Google, vowed to institute new policies aimed at removing or limiting access to ‘extremist and terrorism related videos’. In a June blog post, Google’s general counsel, Kent Walker, said the company would be increasing its use of technology, ‘independent experts’ in it’s Trusted Flagger program, and expanding ‘its role in counter-radicalization efforts’. In addition, he said the company would be ‘taking a tougher stance’ on content that doesn’t ‘clearly violate’ the site’s stated policies.
“…we will be taking a tougher stance on videos that do not clearly violate our policies — for example, videos that contain inflammatory religious or supremacist content. In future these will appear behind an interstitial warning and they will not be monetized, recommended or eligible for comments or user endorsements. That means these videos will have less engagement and be harder to find. We think this strikes the right balance between free expression and access to information without promoting extremely offensive viewpoints.”
Four steps we’re taking today to fight terrorism online | Kent Walker, General Counsel, Google
This statement is disturbingly vague. First, what exactly qualifies as ‘inflammatory religious or supremacist content’? With far-left organizations like the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) helping the company to identify ‘extremism’ on the site through the Trusted Flagger program, it’s likely that endless videos will be flagged on the basis of ideological disagreement, not because they promote ‘extremism’.
By the way, what is ‘extremism’ as defined by Google? In all these months since this controversy began, I’ve yet to see Google clearly define ‘extremist content’. The term is just repeated over and over like some moralizing mantra; a vacuous PC platitude with no apparent grounding in objective standards of categorization.
Since the blog post refers to countering both ‘extremist and terrorist-related content’, I presume Google makes some distinction between the two. If this ‘extremist content’ is indeed something separate and apart from the ‘terrorism online’ Google explicitly claims to be combatting with these new restrictions, then what is it exactly? Content that promotes ‘extremely offensive viewpoints’?
What viewpoints are to be deemed ‘extremely offensive’ and to whom are they offensive? Google, YouTube, the ADL? And if content promoting these ill-defined ‘extremely offensive viewpoints’ is indeed so disturbing, then why is such content not a direct violation of YouTube’s terms of service?
YouTube has also said the site will stop returning the most popular videos on searches for ‘sensitive’ subjects. Instead, the user will be presented a, “playlist of curated YouTube videos that directly confront and debunk violent extremist messages.”
In other words, you’ll only see what Google wants you to see. Regardless of Google’s stated intentions, such a program sets a dangerous precedent which threatens free and open of access to all content online.
It has become routine for regressive leftists to equate the expression of opinions they don’t like with the perpetration of actual violence. Therefore, it’s not hard to imagine a scenario in which social justice infected Google will ultimately use this new set of restrictions to target any content that runs counter to the company’s ideological biases. Some content will end up cast off into this restricted video wasteland not because it promotes ‘violent extremism’, but because it violently triggers some Silicon Valley snowflake.
Google now commands a staggering 2/3 of U.S. search engine market share, and their increasingly authoritarian control of content distribution is a direct threat to all freedom of expression online.
Under these new restrictions, ‘controversial’ content will be subjected to digital exile. If YouTube deems a video ‘offensive’ or ‘extremist’ in nature, it will all but cease to exist on the platform. Flagged videos will be placed in a limited state where they cannot be shared, liked, commented upon, or monitized – shoved into a memory hole and forgotten.
Not to worry though. In lieu of such offensive content, Google will be presenting you with approved content handpicked by ‘experts’ who were handpicked by the social justice regressives currently running the company.
Google – Ministry of Truth for online content.
What could possibly go wrong?
YouTuber Suit Yourself gives an example of what happens to a video that has been ‘blacklisted’ under YouTube’s new policies.
Suit Yourself | YouTube Channel | Vidme Channel
Threats to freedom of speech, writing and action, though often trivial in isolation, are cumulative in their effect and, unless checked, lead to a general disrespect for the rights of the citizen.| George Orwell |