YouTube is the second most popular website in the world, behind Google. Both are now owned by Alphabet. As such, it has tremendous power to control information for its roughly 1.9 billion monthly users or more.
Although YouTube claims not to do that in a politically biased way, the site is known to have axed hundreds of Trump campaign ads and demonetized and suppressed conservative content, including pundits and pro-lifers. It also strictly limits firearms-related content. YouTube funds left-wing media initiatives, works diligently to “avoid bias” against the LGBT community and uses the leftist Southern Poverty Law Center as a “Trusted Flagger” to get rid of hateful content.
Lack of clear policies and transparency are huge problems with the video-sharing giant. A CBS 60 Minutes investigation found YouTube and sister company Google took down more than 300 Trump 2020 reelection ads for violating policies in 2019. It failed to say what the violations were.
YouTube’s control of information reached outrageous levels during the coronavirus pandemic. It censored actual doctors, related conspiracy theories and threatened to take down anything that contradicted the World Health Organisation (WHO). Ironically, the WHO’s track record is full of blemishes, including how it mishandled coronavirus.
Most of the site’s censorship comes through enforcement of YouTube policies, which are in themselves biased against the right. It has rules for firearms, so-called hate speech and harassment and can enforce them by video removal, age restriction, demonetization, account suspensions and bans. And that doesn’t even touch the potential for algorithmic biases (which the company denies exist). Once videos get removed, there’s very little chance of reinstatement, according to a 2020 company report.
Its crackdown on hate speech included videos on exorcism, a former transgender woman speaking out about the dangers of affirming children’s gender dysphoria, and a 14-year-old conservative critical of Pride month. For just coming close to violating its hate speech rules, YouTube punished creators including conservative pundit Steven Crowder with demonetization. Months later, his ability to earn was reinstated.
- YouTube’s sister company Google has said that it, not smaller companies, could be charged with “preventing the next Trump situation,” and maintains blacklists and algorithms that are biased against conservatives.
- The company is funding far-left publisher The Young Turks’ TYT Academy to the tune of “the mid-six figures,” as part of a $25 million committment to news. The program is designed to teach the creation of digital-first local news, but given TYT’s “progressive” agenda it’s more likely teaching bias.
- The platform censored author Mark Dice’s video of black on white violence in a video designed to show the “racism the mainstream media won’t show you.” YouTube won’t show you either, although it said this was because of its policy on violent and graphic content.
- YouTube and Google won the right to censor content in a federal appeals court in 2020, after PragerU sued for its suppression of its education videos through age restriction.
- Pro-lifers have dealt with YouTube censorship for years. Abortion Bill Reversal’s account was suspended for providing “harmful or dangerous” material. It’s also been accused of downgrading pro-life content in search results. Live Action founder Lila Rose said YouTube blocks it from advertising in videos and from running ads promoting its videos.
- It used hate speech policies to censor Heritage Foundation’s video of Walt Heyer expressing regret over his gender transition. Heyer also spoke out against affirming children’s gender dysphoria by helping them transition medically.
- YouTube announced a ban on “medically unsubstantiated” claims, including anything that contradicts WHO in April 2020. It then applies the policy to a news clip of actual doctors. The WHO did not take coronavirus seriously at first and has such flawed pandemic data that Oxford’s World of Data stopped using it. Yet, YouTube made it the standard.
- YouTube’s repeated removal of the conspiracy-laden, inaccurate Plandemic video critical of Dr. Fauci and the public health bureaucracy backfired — fueling views on alternative platforms. Foundation for Economic Education warned, “Sheltering the public from ideas, even bad ones, only makes society more susceptible to dangerous error.”
- In late 2019, the site’s harassment policy was broadened to include “demeaning language” and “content that maliciously insults someone based on protected attributes such as their race, gender expression, or sexual orientation. This applies to everyone, from private individuals, to YouTube creators, to public officials.” Critics called it so vague it would be impossible to know what is prohibited.
- A Google whistleblower told Project Veritas in 2019, that since Google bought the platform it has been trying to suppress conservative commentary on YouTube through demonetization and deranking.
- YouTube works hard not to censor LGBTQ creators. Every update to the company’s harassment policy is measured by “the impact on a set of LGBTQ creator videos.”
- In a single quarter of 2019, YouTube removed more than 4 million channels and a half billion comments. At least 17,000 of those channels were axed for being “hateful or abusive.” The company provided very little information about what it removed, forcing people to trust their judgment.
- YouTube reserves the right to remove non-commercially viable accounts (of course, it can also make an account non-commercially viable first).
- YouTube age-restricted an educational video about the Holocaust designed for middle and high schoolers.
- Conservative YouTuber Ryan Moore created a video condemning a New Zealand terrorist attack, hate and anti-Semitism, and defending Chelsea Clinton — while wearing a MAGA hat. He tried to promote it with an ad and was denied for “dangerous or derogatory content.” His ad account was suspended too.
- Following a 2018 shooting in Parkland, Florida, YouTube announced bans on videos or links to firearms and accessory sellers and demo videos showing how to assemble a firearm.
- YouTube relies on left-wing smear machine Southern Poverty Law Center to police hate speech as part of the “Trusted Flagger” program.
- YouTube’s “Creators for Change” program is wildly left-wing, funding a 9/11 Truther, anti-Israel creators and open borders proponents.
- YouTube said it would use Wikipedia to fact-check “topics and events that have inspired significant debate.”