Another hypocritical censorship campaign’s goal is to fight “fake news.” YouTube’s “shadow ban” will “protect” viewers from controversial videos.
By Donald Jeffries
YouTube recently made it official: It announced its plan to tweak the computer code that is used to maintain the website in order to block so-called conspiracy videos from potential viewers. Called essentially a “shadow ban,” the popular online video service will be suppressing key words that will effectively prevent viewers from being able to watch any videos that its corporate owners view as controversial.
The announcement, authored by “the YouTube team,” went on to declare, “We’ll begin reducing recommendations of borderline content and content that could misinform users in harmful ways.” What kinds of videos will this entail? YouTube says it will specifically target “videos promoting a phony miracle cure for a serious illness, claiming the Earth is flat, or making blatantly false claims about historic events like 9/11.”
Regular perusers of YouTube have noticed over the past few years that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find results when searching for alternative takes on historical or current events.
This is the latest in a series of overt attempts to censor the Internet, which began in earnest last August when the most high-profile figure in alternative news, Alex Jones, was summarily banned by all social media platforms. To add insult to injury, Jones was even banned by PayPal. Twitter permanently banned Jones, as well as his vocal supporter Roger Stone, for unclear and largely laughable “abuses.”
Meanwhile, actor Peter Fonda, who last year suggested putting 10-year-old Barron Trump into a cage with pedophiles, was never punished and remains free to tweet.
In the wake of a recent media-fueled attack on a group of Catholic boys from Kentucky, a “Saturday Night Live” writer tweeted out an offer to provide sexual services to anyone who “punched the MAGA kid in the face.” Even worse, a Disney producer tweeted out a graphic image along with a proposal for running these high school kids through a woodchipper. Those, and numerous other high-profile figures who urged violence on these underage kids, didn’t even receive a timeout from Twitter.
The ostensible reason behind this censorship is a desire to keep the public safe from the “fake news” of alternative sites. However Microsoft recently had to concede that, when it comes to its new blacklisting tool called NewsGuard, many of the outlets it lists as credible—which is basically any mainstream outlet—have themselves been guilty of spreading false information.
As Breitbart News discovered, NewsGuard continues to list the most absurd, thoroughly discredited stories as legitimate, including the retracted 2014 gang-rape hoax at the University of Virginia.
When Breitbart questioned NewsGuard about this, they received the following reply: “News- Guard rates the credibility and transparency practices of websites as a whole, *not* individual stories.
A green icon means that the website has not failed enough of our nine journalistic criteria to get a red rating, but does not mean that specific article is ‘verified.’ ”
Needless to say, Infowars and the other alternative outlets have never been permitted to be mistaken about a particular story or stories yet still maintain their overall credibility.
Whatever one may think about Jones, every American should be worried that he was banned from social media for “objectionable content,” while the most vile and obscene threats against Donald Trump or those who support him are allowed free reign.
The First Amendment once meant something. Most Americans don’t realize that even the “yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded theater” restriction didn’t come about until a Supreme Court decision was written by Oliver Wendell Holmes during World War I, to justify the government’s imprisonment of those who opposed the conflict.
The advent of radio and television didn’t result in any extension of free speech to those unforeseen venues; instead, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was created to police these new means of communication in ways that were entirely inconsistent with the First Amendment.
Because the FCC doesn’t and can’t control content online, those who have restricted the parameters of debate in other forms of media have long desired to crush the egalitarian, unfettered nature of the Internet. The Internet makes anyone a potential journalist, and gives everyone a space to voice their opinion. Forbes magazine spoke for the entire Deep State with its headline, “YouTube Stops Recommending Conspiracy Videos, Finally.”
This has been an ongoing effort since it began nearly a year ago, when YouTube announced it was going to link directly to Wikipedia, “to fight conspiracy theories.”
As the Guardian wisely warned, “Taking them down fuels it more.” Such heavy-handed censorship kind of verifies what all those “conspiracy videos” are saying. Either we have the right to free expression, or we don’t.
Donald Jeffries is a highly respected author and researcher whose work on the JFK, RFK and MLK assassinations and other high crimes of the Deep State has been read by millions of people across the world. Jeffries is also the author of two books currently being sold by the AFP Online Store.