Is YouTube cracking down on free speech by randomly demonetizing certain content the massive social media giant considers unfit? The Google-owned video platform is in some hot water with conservative users and video creators who are accusing them of discriminating against the right because YouTube is taking ads off of content they say violates the terms of service. YouTube doesn’t serve ads on demonetized videos, meaning massive hits to the financial bottom line for conservative YouTube personalities.
YouTube defends its position by saying they aim to crack down on hate speech, but conservative and right-wing video creators say that shouldn’t apply to them. YouTube says it respects principles of free speech, but its policies are aimed at making sure advertisers’ needs are met.
“There’s a difference between the free expression that lives on YouTube and the content that brands have told us they want to advertise against,” a YouTube spokesperson said. “Part of giving advertisers choice means giving them the choice to not run ads on sensitive content.” The company said that creators who feel that their content was incorrectly classified can file an appeal with Youtube.
The Hill.com also reports right-wing sites are not alone:
Non-political content is also being demonetized, creating another political headache for YouTube as it tries to convince advertisers that its platform is safe for their brands.
Last year, popular YouTube creator Philip DeFranco claimed that one his videos had been demonetized. YouTube said that DeFranco’s video had been demonetized because he swore and used graphic video footage, according to DeFranco.
“I love YouTube. It’s well within their damn rights to do this. It is their website. It is also incredibly f—ing concerning,” DeFranco said in a video. “By taking away monetization, it is a form of censorship.”
Others have noticed that even some LGBT content is being demonetized, as well. The Outline pointed out a video by YouTube video creator Arielle Jane from August that had been demonetized for no clear reason.
“Diamond and Silk,” two prominent conservative YouTube creators, were hit hard by the site’s demonetization policies. They believe that they were targeted because of their support for President Trump. “How was it OK to monetize our videos for the past two years and now those same videos are no longer eligible for monetization?” the two women, who have appeared regularly on Fox News, asked.
One Infowars headline recently read: “YOUTUBE DECLARES WAR ON POLITICALLY INCORRECT OPINIONS.“ Lauren Southern, a conservative internet personality recently told the Daily Caller, “I think it would be insane to suggest there’s not an active effort to censor conservative and independent views. There’s no merit hiring, there’s no support of free speech and there certainly is not an equal representation of political views at these companies.”
What do you think about Google and YouTube being accused of censorship?
Credit: The Hill