UK: YouTube creators demand justice after 'borderline content' crackdown

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki pats herself on the back for the company’s tolerance for non-mainstream views

Thursday 29 August 2019 - YouTube is cracking down on 'borderline content' that doesn’t quite break its rules, expanding an algorithm-tweak that prevents controversial material from gaining a US audience to the rest of the English-speaking world.

A recommendations tweak that cut the referral views of content that 'brushes right up against our policy line' in half in the US over the past six months is being rolled out across the UK, Ireland, South Africa, and 'other English-language markets,' YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said in a quarterly letter to creators on Tuesday, patting herself on the back for what she claimed was the company’s tolerance for non-mainstream views.

'A commitment to openness is not easy,' Wojcicki wrote, likely provoking a few spit-takes from readers. 'It sometimes means leaving up content that is outside the mainstream, controversial or even offensive.'

But diversity of opinion 'makes us a stronger and more informed society, even if we disagree with some of those views,' she continued - begging the question of why YouTube feels compelled to deplatform so many outside-the-mainstream commentators even as its CEO has admitted in the past that 'news or news commentary [is] a very small percentage of the number of views we have.'

'Reducing the spread of borderline content' was one of 'four Rs' Wojcicki claimed formed the company’s framework for dealing with creators, accompanied by 'remove content that violates our policy,' 'raise up authoritative voices,' and 'reward trusted, eligible creators.'

Creators were up in arms about the rising tide of censorship, which took out a number of popular channels without warning. Many speculated about the platform’s future, even calling for Wojcicki’s resignation.

'Youtube’s final form will be mainstream TV,' one user lamented. 'YouTube was primarily built by edgy content. That’s what made it great,' another agreed. 'We prefer diversity and free speech on YouTube, not racism and censorship,' said another. 

Many insisted the crackdown was part of the company’s admitted efforts to control the 2020 US election (even, apparently, in the UK).

Editor's comment - YouTube is not alone in cracking down on free speech - all of 'Big Tech' is heading in the same direction, including Google, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon. It's time to bring in anti-trust laws to break these companies up. They should not be allowed to act as censors in this way.

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