You Tube Censorship

Youtube has become one of the most widely used platforms on the internet today. But there may be some things you do not know about Youtube's censorship.

Youtube has become one of the most widely used platforms on the internet today. But there may be some things you do not know about Youtube's censorship.

Nick Sauers, Writer

Youtube. Definitely one of the most well-known media sites. Everybody has visited Youtube every once in a while to watch that new news broadcast, or a comedy sketch, or just some funny cat videos. However, below the surface, Youtube has become sort of a shady website and seems a little biased in their use of censorship. 

First, we must understand how Youtube functions. Youtube has proclaimed themselves as a media platform site. The role of a media platform is to hold a bunch of media and to host many options for anyone to use, such as sharing and discussion posts. One of the biggest things that sets a platform apart from a publisher website is that a platform has certain restrictions on what can be censored. 

According to whitehouse.gov, an executive order that was issued on May 28, 2020 titled: “Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship” states that “if an online platform restricted access to some content posted by others, it would thereby become a ‘publisher’ of all the content posted on its site for purposes of torts such as defamation.” This simply means that in order to be registered as a platform site, a website must follow certain rules in choosing what to censor, or else they will be labeled a publisher website.

What are these rules? According to law.cornell.edu, the Communications Decency Act Section 230 (c) (2) (A) protects the right of any platform site to censor content that is “obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected”.

Each platform has its own policies as well in order to make their rules more specific and clear. Youtube has policies in place about that removal of videos and what can prompt this removal. According to these policies, Youtube can remove a video if it contains nudity or sexual content, harmful or dangerous content, hateful content (based on “race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, nationality, veteran status, caste, sexual orientation, or gender identity, or content that incites hatred on the basis of these core characteristics.”), violent or graphic content, harassment and cyberbullying, spam, misleading metadata, scams, threats, copyright infringement, privacy, impersonation, child endangerment, or vulgar language. Youtube can also remove your channel due to inactivity, encouragement of terms of service violations, or age restrictions.

Let us delve deeper into the area of these terms that possibly holds the most gray area: threats. The Youtube threat policies page explains that censorship may occur if threatened violence or violence is shown, someone is making fun of a certain group for physical attributes, ethnic slurs or name-calling is used, or cyberbullying is observed on the matter of someone’s status as a survivor or sexual assault or domestic abuse. This is not a complete list, but most of the guidelines on the Youtube policies page seem to relate closely to these points.

Also on this page, we can find exceptions to the threat and harassment rules. According to Youtube’s policies, harassment may be taken more lightly if the video is on the subject of discussing or debating high-profile people, used in art (such as scripted comedy, satire, or music), or shown for education purposes. However, Youtube does make sure to specify that ethnic slurs are almost never tolerated. 

However, Youtube can become a little biased when choosing who to get rid of. A right-wing commentator by the name of Gavin Mcinnes got “permanently banned” from Youtube for implying that he was going to march into CHAZ (Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone) and put an end to the violence and protests. Youtube has tried to lock Mcinnes out of his Youtube channel, proclaiming that he was inciting violence, even though he was merely suggesting the protestors at CHAZ needed to be stopped. 

Youtube puts up a huge fuss about violence and threatened violence, however Youtube has allowed many videos and streams to be posted showing radical left-wing Antifa groups violently protesting against various causes. Mcinnes made sure to point out that Youtube and other social platform sites are so focused on what could happen that they are not even doing anything about protestors that are actually destroying property.

Another case brings attention to American-Canadian conservative commentator Steven Crowder. Crowder has been demonetized from Youtube because of slurs toward journalist Carlos Maza. Carlos Maza reported Steven Crowder for these inappropriate names about his sexual orientation. Crowder was reported to have called Maza “Gay Wonk”, which sounds bad, but Crowder points out in his defense that “Gay Wonk” is actually Carlos Maza’s twitter account name. Why does Crowder get demonetized because he called Maza something that Maza calls himself. Even if this would have reasonably been considered a slur. Crowder has not actually broken the policies of Youtube, considering how Crowder was mocking somebody of a high-profile and was doing so in a scripted comedy session.

Besides, Crowder has not done anything worse than some other people on Youtube. There are multiple videos of left-wing comedian Stephen Colbert making fun of Malania Trump’s accent and making appear unintelligent. There is also a tape that was recently exposed of Jimmy Kimmel using a certain racial slur against African Americans in a song trying to imitate rapper Snoop Dogg. There are also tons of videos of comedians and Youtubers delivering jokes that many find offensive or insensitive. None of these examples are against the rules of Youtube either, but they are no better than the things that Crowder has said. If Youtube were fair across the board, Crowder getting demonetized would mean the end of many other famous comedians on Youtube.

The fact that Youtube can now censor anything they want regardless of whether or not they broke the rules, means they are moving toward becoming a publisher site. We can prove that Youtube is biased because only certain content is getting taken down while others of similar nature remain untouched. This is yet another example of how certain views are becoming suppressed because of common opposition. This shows how even some of the most well-known platforms are moving their way into fascism.

 

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