Constitution, by Andrew West, August 1, 2017:
The war on conservatism has been waging on the internet for years, and now, YouTube is looking to get in on the action.
Recently, internet giants such as Google and Facebook have been working overtime to restrict the world’s access to non-mainstream media. Facebook has been extremely egregious in their anti-conservative slant, openly admitting to employing a team of censors to eliminate right wing sources from appearing within their “trending topics” section. This corrupt curation has been lambasted by watchdog groups the world over as nothing more than totalitarian censorship carried out by a power-hungry CEO.
Google has had its fair share of conservative controversy as well, as a number of popular search terms were neutered by the world’s most popular search engine. Particularly, during the 2016 election, any searches for negative information on Hillary Clinton were either buried or completely omitted from the autocomplete results displayed on the website.
Furthermore, Google has already received record fines in Europe for their self-serving product search modifications that pointed consumers to Google-owned or Google-centric devices as opposed to the most popular devices as the website purported to be doing.
Now it looks as though YouTube, which is owned by Google, will also look to rig its search results, leaving free speech advocates concerned over the reality-shaping leftist scam completely inundating the internet as we know it.
“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.
“YouTube is also planning to artificially alter its search results so that searches for ‘sensitive’ topics on YouTube no longer return the most popular videos, but a ‘playlist of curated YouTube videos that directly confront and debunk violent extremist messages.’”
While the concept of censoring hateful videos seems innocuous enough, the reality of this overreach will likely be much more damaging than imagined.
Free speech in America has been under attack for some time, with February’s UC Berkeley riots being the flashpoint for the liberal New Fascist movement to bolster their offensives. These militant leftists believe that the First Amendment should be rewritten to nullify free speech in cases where people are offended.
YOUTUBE’S DANGEROUS CONFLATION OF “TERRORISM” AND “INFLAMMATORY SPEECH” by Daniel Greenfield
Google was unique as a major dot com with an absolutist position on free speech. Where Twitter eagerly censored the right and favored the left, Facebook favored the left, Google stood by free speech.
When Obama came looking for a Benghazi scapegoat and seized on the Innocence of Muslims video, not only did YouTube refuse to take it down, but Google fought an extended court battle over it. It was an impressive feat that is coming undone.
Google News and then Google began baking in partisan “fact checks” into search results. Then the search algorithms were retooled to promote Islamist views over those of counterterrorism critics, as Robert Spencer has discussed. Search for Jihad and you’ll find Islamist results while Jihad Watch has been buried.
Now Google will have a cage for “inflammatory videos”. As a subset of measures being taken to flag pro-terrorist videos, there will be a crackdown on non-violent but inflammatory videos.
Third, 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 monetised, 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.
The question is who decides what is inflammatory or offensive. And what are the metrics?
Google is a private company. It has the right to decide who uses its service. But
1. Google is vocally fighting for Net Neutrality. There’s a good deal of hypocrisy in demanding that cable companies shouldn’t be able to rein in YouTube’s bandwidth as part of their own corporate policies, while playing the capitalism card when it suits it.
2. Google is a monopoly. There’s no way around it. It controls much of the internet. Its dominance in search is particularly troubling. As it begins biasing its results, the worry stops being abstract and becomes a real threat to freedom of speech. When a corporate monopoly can silence political dissent, we’re in troubling territory.
And this needs to be addressed.