It's probably going to take emerging artificial intelligence technologies in order for Youtube and Google to read the minds of its viewers while balancing the advertising campaigns from its sponsors. But as we first reported this week, there's a lot of questionable content on Youtube.
On Sunday, we pointed our readers' attention to Seven Super Girls, a channel of videos created by kids, for kids — so so goes the facade. The only problem with the channel is it's incredibly exciting to pedophiles — and seems to be geared that way intentionally — something we documented thoroughly.
Compounding problems for Youtube, its selective censorship of far-right, far-left, and alt-media organizations has created an Us versus Them atmosphere where content creators often feel they've been discriminated against, simply because someone flagged their content.
Here are a few examples of the dilemma Youtube began facing once it decided to begin censoring videos to please advertisers as well as concerned viewers.
On the right, Michelle Malkin said her two-minute video accurately portraying the victims of fundamentalist Islamists was yanked when her production was deemed offensive. Warriors for free speech began embedding her video in an attempt to get around Youtube's censorship campaign against her video. Here's how she described her film in an op-ed piece for the National Review;
My two-minute clip, which I titled “First, They Came,” spotlighted authors, editors, politicians, and other targets of Islamic intolerance and violence. Among those featured in the video on radical Islam’s war on Western free speech: Theo van Gogh, the Dutch filmmaker murdered by jihadist Mohammed Bouyeri for his outspoken criticism of Muslim misogyny; Salman Rushdie, whom the Ayatollah Khomeini cast a fatwa upon after he published the “blasphemous” The Satanic Verses; Oriana Fallaci, the fiery journalist put on trial in Italy for “defaming Islam;” and the editors of the Danish Jyllands-Posten newspaper, who faced death threats for publishing cartoons of Mohammed, which prompted violent riots and terror plots around the world.
Malkin explained what happened next;
YouTube yanked the innocuous, harmless, nonviolent, non-profane, non-hateful, and nonthreatening mini-film. The company informed me that the video contained “inappropriate content.” I complained across social media — posting additional YouTube videos calling attention to the ban. But “First, They Came” stayed deep-sixed on my YouTube channel. Other bloggers and video consumers tried to subvert the censors by posting the clip on their sites; it became a game of whack-a-mole as the YouTube police hunted it down.
Malkin's story comes from the right, but the left was also not immune to Youtube censorship. As the Guardian documented, the LBGTQ community has also suffered from First Amendment censorship.
YouTube creators are lambasting the site after the discovery that its “restricted mode”, a feature intended to let schools, parents and libraries filter out content not appropriate for children, also removed a vast amount of LGBT content. Some videos from pop duo Tegan and Sara, who are gay, were hidden from view, as were videos from bisexual YouTuber NeonFiona – but only those which talked about her sexuality.
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But what about those that are neither right nor left, those who are a part of the alternative media? In 2016, Assistant Professor Melissa "Mish" Zimdars of Merrimack College in Massachusetts compiled a running list of what she considered "fake news" outlets, and invited some of her colleagues to join her.
The Free Thought Project, an independent news and commentary outlet made the list. Shortly after the list surfaced, Facebook implemented a temporary ban of our site, lasting nearly a month, and affecting our operations. We've sent numerous cease and desist orders as our appearance on this list is entirely slanderous. While the mainstream media seemed to applaud the publication, Facebook acted on it, and as a result became one of the world's most powerful censors.
Google followed suit, and announced it, too, would begin censoring 'fake' news. But why should free speech have to be throttled? Why is the truth, even if it's a subjective truth, have to be silenced? The answer may lie at the organizations, entities, and individuals who pull the strings behind the scenes.
In April, Google's attempts to help searchers, and investigators determine fact from fiction went global. Searches now contain labels which convey whether a site is legit. According to ZDNet, "Google has started showing a 'fact check' label in search results next to articles containing claims that have been vetted for veracity." The label, like all determinations of whether something is fake or not, is also subjective and open to determination. But that hasn't stopped the search engine from labeling.
If content producers want to have the seal of approval, so to speak, of Google, it will have to conform to certain rules. Does that sound like censorship to you? Here's how ZDNet explained it;
Publishers will need to conform to several rules to have their articles displayed with the fact-check label. Google will only display the label for publishers that have used the Schema.org ClaimReview markup on each page where they have checked the facts of a public statement, or if they use the Share the Facts widget.
It's a war no one can win, really. Content creators (whatever their political leanings), even though they may spend hours ensuring their sources are credible, still run the risk of being deemed "Fake News."
And we haven't even begun to address the political motivations, alliances, secret deals, and opinions to which some of the thousands of fact-checkers may ascribe. All of this leaves us with the firm belief that people owe it to themselves to get educated, inform themselves, and draw their own conclusions. Readers should also prepare for a day when there's a media blackout, when state-funded MSM and only pre-approved content creators are allowed to create new content.
Make no mistake, this is something the owners of the 5 largest media companies in the world would love nothing better to see.
To us, at The Free Thought Project, we have determined that it is a statistical improbability that Google, Facebook, or an entire nation of professors, cannot and will not be able to effectively censor every page of content which is offensive to a particular audience. But they all can, at least, try to pose a solution to the videos on their networks featuring little girls in depraved and sexually stimulating scenarios upon which pedophiles may indulge — as this sort of thing is far more damaging to society than alternative views on political subjects.