Remember when the Internet was a great big free-speech zone, where almost any idea or belief could be freely and easily expressed? Well, leave it to the Left to mess it all up. Popular conservative political comedian Stephen Crowder recently had his YouTube channel demonetized — all because a leftist activist and “journalist” at Vox complained that Crowder’s comments about him, making fun of his homosexuality and ethnicity, amounted to bullying.
Initially, YouTube did nothing other than noting that Crowder’s comments did not violate its policies. The Vox journalist, however, being the leftist that he is, took to social media and called on the Rainbow Mafia to boycott YouTube. It wasn’t long before YouTube partially reversed course and demonetized Crowder’s channel, explaining, “Even if a creator’s content doesn’t violate our community guidelines, we will take a look at the broader context and impact, and if their behavior is egregious and harms the broader community, we may take actions” [emphasis added].
Crowder represents just the latest victim in a growing number of mostly right-leaning personalities who have been punished or silenced by social-media giants for daring to express views the Left vindictively classifies as “hate speech.”
And YouTube is just getting started. Following its action against Crowder, YouTube announced that it was “taking another step in our hate speech policy by specifically prohibiting videos alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion based on qualities like age, gender, races, caste, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status.”
Not only will YouTube demonetize and censor creator content based upon its own subjective and ever-evolving definition of what encompasses “dangerous” hate speech, but it will “rank content based on quality.” As Sundar Pichai, CEO of YouTube’s parent company Google, explained, “We are bringing that same notion and approach to YouTube so that we can rank higher quality stuff better and really prevent borderline content.” In short, YouTube will promote mainstream media news and political commentary over nontraditional new media. And by doing so, it aims to limit the impact of disfavored alternative journalism.
These tech giants are acting the part of Big Brother, censoring political speech with which they disagree, and then running and hiding behind their “private company” moniker whenever they’re called out for it. Many conservatives point to the free market as the sole solution, but that response is arguably too idealistic and naive. Government’s aim should be to protect the right of Americans to access the “town square.” And if social-media giants do indeed represent the town square, then First Amendment concerns are valid.