Censorship

Is YouTube Discriminating Against Both Conservatives and LGBT Videos? Two Lawsuits Say Yes.

Trying to get the government involved in what sort of videos online platforms promote or hide is going to end badly.

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You're not likely to find much overlap in content when comparing the YouTube channels of conservative Prager University, and the LGBT kink educators at Watts the Safeword.

But they do share a belief that YouTube and Google are unfairly discriminating against them and censoring their content, and they're both willing to sue in federal court to put an end to it.

Yesterday, a group of eight LGBT YouTube creators announced a federal class-action lawsuit against Google and YouTube claiming "discrimination, fraud, unfair and deceptive business practices, unlawful restraint of speech, and breach of consumer contract rights" by among other things, demonetizing their videos so that they can't make money off of advertising, putting age restrictions on their videos, excluding their videos from recommendation algorithms, and otherwise making it harder for YouTube viewers to find their stuff and for them to make money off their works. The plaintiffs produced a video (and are hosting it on YouTube) explaining their lawsuit:

It's fascinating how much their complaints mirror those by Prager University, which argues that Google and YouTube discriminate against their content because they're conservatives. In fact, Prager U and these LGBT creators are being represented in their lawsuits by the same firm, Browne George Ross LLP. At their site, Browne George Ross provides a recording of a conversation between one of the plaintiffs, Chris Knight of GlitterBomb TV, and a YouTube advertising representative who told him they wouldn't accept an advertisement for an episode of the show due to "shocking content," which was further explained to mean "gay content." The lawsuit argues that YouTube uses its "restricted mode" not just to block minors from accessing adult content, but to hide away LGBT videos entirely.

The lawsuit, much like the Prager U complaints, leans heavily on the idea that, because YouTube is such a powerful, dominant online hosting system for videos, it's under an obligation to be "viewpoint-neutral," and in fact, YouTube claims that they are indeed viewpoint-neutral in their moderation. From the lawsuit:

LGBTQ+ Plaintiffs understand and support effective, but lawful viewpoint-neutral content-based regulations on the platform. But that is not how these Defendants have been operating YouTube during the relevant time period of this lawsuit. Defendants have brazenly abandoned YouTube's Four Freedoms and hijacked the YouTube Community and the Mission that defines that Community, by continuing to engage in and defend identity, viewpoint, discriminatory, and illegal content-based regulation, distribution and monetization policies that harm YouTube's LGBTQ+ Community and other YouTube Community members. Requests by the LGBTQ+ Plaintiffs to address these allegations and concerns have been made to Defendants, but not only have these requests fallen on deaf ears, but in the past several weeks, they have been the subject of outright false denials by YouTube's CEO.

The "Four Freedoms" referenced above are YouTube's own creation: "Freedom of Expression," "Freedom of Opportunity," "Freedom of Information," and "Freedom to Belong." The plaintiffs claim that the restrictions and censorship YouTube has inflicted on their channels violate the company's own standards.

The lawsuit also argues that YouTube isn't censoring enough when it comes to anti-LGBT speech and hate speech showing up in their channels. The lawsuit complains about advertisements with anti-LGBT speech being placed in front of their videos by YouTube, offending viewers and discouraging them from watching. And the lawsuit further complains about the inability of content creators to effectively police the comments in their channels to weed out hate speech. The lawsuit contends:

The LGBTQ+ Plaintiffs strongly support the right of free Speech and expression for all Community Members. That right does not extend to Defendants' promotion of anti-LGBTQ+ hate speech, speech which also violates Defendants' own purportedly neutral content-based rules—especially when Defendants unlawfully use those rules as pretext to censor, restrain, demonetize, silence, and squelch the engagement and distribution of LGBTQ+ video content or viewership. Such, actions unlawfully interfere with the express rights of LGBTQ+ Community Members to protect themselves by speaking out against hate and homophobia on a level playing field, as provided by Defendants' representations and warranties that the rules apply equally to all on YouTube.

This paragraph seems a bit confusing and muddled. If YouTube were a neutral platform, it wouldn't be censoring anti-LGBT ads or deleting comments that these plaintiffs deem to be "hate speech." The argument seems to be that by censoring their videos, but not the hate speech, they're at a disadvantage.

Of course, there's tons of pro-LGBT video content all over YouTube. I suspect that much like Prager U, they're going to have a hard time convincing the government that Google holds some sort of animus against gay and trans people just like they do conservatives.

That's not to say that there's nothing of merit in any of these complaints, but they really end up being more about contractual obligations than free speech. The lawsuit notes that Knight's company paid YouTube more than $14,000 to place ads and then had to fight regularly with YouTube, which frequently refused to accept their ads for vague and unexplained reasons. But this is an issue of whether or not YouTube is meeting its contractual obligations, not a free speech or censorship issue.

The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court, Northern Division of California, San Jose Division, seeks class-action status, a cease-and-desist order stopping these practices, damages, a penalty of $2,500 for each violation, and attorneys fees.

They want a jury trial, and without trying to guess at the outcome, I'll note that Prager U has already lost a lawsuit last year over claims like this, as a judge held that YouTube was a private platform and not a "state actor." The judge also said that simply because YouTube expresses values supporting free speech doesn't mean it must structure moderation with the First Amendment in mind.

Prager U has filed a new lawsuit, and Dennis Prager has turned to friendly conservatives in the Senate to try to get the federal government involved in setting rules for online platforms. Billy Binion has previously explained how Prager's analysis that YouTube has some special desire to censor him is misguided, and in reality, his channel's videos end up restricted far less than those of the History Channel, Democracy Now, and The Daily Show.

The reality is that YouTube is providing a hosting platform so large that there are going to be mishaps and confusion in applying its ultimately subjective regulations. This new lawsuit has entire sections devoted to explaining how YouTube restricted a video because of an appearance of a man's bare butt, but did not do so at a more popular channel under the same circumstances. Does that sound more like intentional discrimination against LGBTQ, or the result of well-meaning humans and crude algorithms trying to enforce a shifting set of loosely defined content standards? And if federal lawmakers had their way, how many bare butts and kink explainers do you think you'd see on YouTube?

Prager's lawsuit is completely misguided, and so is this one. If it succeeds, it will likely lead to more censorship on Youtube's platform. Tech companies that host user-generated content will be less vibrant and less diverse if they have to cater to everyone, a category that includes powerful government leaders who have their own ideas about what messages must be allowed and what must be censored.

Read the LGBT creators' lawsuit here and the Prager U lawsuit here.

NEXT: SCOTUS Should Drop This Second Amendment Case, a New York Times Columnist Argues, Because Mass Shootings

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  1. The judge should dismiss each lawsuit based on the existence of the other lawsuit.

    1. You’re not very good at this thing called logic. There can be multiple avenues of censorship. Especially with the generic non specific terms of service that YouTube arbitrarily enforces based on whims instead of solid contractual grounds. No other industry in the world is allowed to operate on this “we can change the rules whenever” operation like the google, twitter, etc do.

      1. You are not very good at this humor thing.

        1. Neither are you.
          At least he doesn’t try so damn hard

  2. Reason gets pissed when adults try to limit a child’s exposure to the gays and the trannys

    Reason also gets pissed when you bring up Google’s blatant algorithm manipulation that breaks campaign finance laws

    1. Reason commenters get pissed just because.

    2. Huh? Aren’t they arguing for Google’s right to filter content?

      1. HUH? It DEMOLISHES the latest wacko conspiracy — the war on conservatives.

        We’re still stuck with The MSM and the Deep States. A conspiracy for every Trump screwup. His cult will believe anything! The core group is mostly Birthers. He got the GOP nomination with 37%, almost the same percentage of Republicans who believe the Birther, which is scary itself

        1. Finding out you are on Hihns side of an argument… sorry zeb.

    3. The sooner you expose your children to the existence of gays and transsexuals, the better. Did you know it was possible to interact with a gay person without thinking about gay sex? Mindblowing, isn’t it?

      1. Even so, the right to choose is more important than that.

        1. Of course, no argument there.

        2. How is YouTube responsible for your choices?

          1. Start at the top again with Ryan’s comment then follow them down in order. If you do that, you might understand what choice is being talked about here.

            1. Okay

              1) Ryan: No homos on YouTube because freedom.

              2) Chipper: Homos are cool

              3) Sparky: No homos on YouTube because choice. For freedom.

              Got it.

              1. No, I don’t think you do.

                1. Ah, Zeb, but I do. Your selective outrage paints an image that was already pretty obvious. You must have known or heard of someone that genuinely thought his stringy comb-over had everyone really fooled that he wasn’t bald, right? Everyone sees it. That’s the mental image I get when you deny being bigoted, willfully ignorant, reactionary authoritarian toolbags. When it comes to police abuse, universities restricting curricula, media and speakers, firing people for their politics or social media presence and many more – it’s okay with you so long as it doesn’t happen to people and ideas you approve of. And you only need to go through the columns and comments here at Reason to see that.

                  1. “Your selective outrage paints an image that was already pretty obvious. ”

                    Are you actually fucking retarded Tony?

                    His entire post is “No, I don’t think you do”

                    1. Well spotted!

                    2. I’m glad you agree you made a fool of yourself Tony.

              2. Got it.

                Nope, not even in the same ballpark.

      2. Instead of simply just dismissing Prager’ s (st al) ridiculous lawsuit, maybe the judge should have fined him $50,000 on top of that for wasting the courts time, plus award Google damages for their attorney fees. If he attempts again and loses, stick another $100,000 fine. That should put an end to this nonsense.

        1. Oops. Meant to be a general comment.

    4. Reason also gets pissed when you bring up Google’s blatant algorithm manipulation that breaks campaign finance laws

      (sigh) Who needs proof?
      *Obama from Kenya. Check
      *Trump’s record margin in the Electoral College, 39,000 voters, in three states combined (Check
      *Trump’s campaign promise to pay off the federal debt in 8 years. Instead, CBO’s 2024 forecast shows that Trump’s GOP has added more new debt, in the first 2 years, than Obama added AFTER 8 years. Recall that Obama inherited the second worst economy since the Depression … but handed Trump the longest recovery ever, for an incoming President. We all have different priorities among key issues. But on fiscal management, Obama wins going away. Trump’s also the first President ever, to increase the deficit by over 47% … in a single year … in ANY recovery, let alone 7 years in.

      1. Non-sequitor

        1. Huh? I RIDICULED him for accepting nonsense on faith alone, no proof … which is what I said.

          I passed on his lie,

          Anything else?

          1. Yes, you appear to be too stupid to tell the difference between not knowing HTML and a typo.

            And you can’t seem to stop WHining about it.

            1. The closing tag to my quote box was not missing. It was misplaced. at the end of one line below where it should have been. That’s a typo. But all 8 of you throwing such a massive fit over html, is just as crazy.
              And you’re still LOSING on every actual issue.

              Get a life.

              1. Fuck off, hihn

  3. Whining, authoritarian, bigoted clingers are among my favorite casualties of the culture war.

    1. Glad you say you like yourself so much, but that’s always been debatable.

    2. Hi, gecko!

      1. Wow! TWO from the Authoritarian Right quickly jumped in to prove the Rev correct … for those who may still need proof.

          1. Tulpa = THIRD unprovoked assault
            How crazy are they? INSANE

            I must admit. Tulpa did catch me red-handed. I am guilty of the fuckupo he slashed me for. Then the worst Trumptards started piling on. Enimasse

            Again, I am guilty as charged. I admit to a feeling of deep shame,
            for the mortal sin of …MAKING TYPOS, . (sneer)

            Read Tulpa and all the thugs who jumpee.

            1. Damn you’re really upset, WHihn harder.

              1. Tulpa AKA “Tula”
                Damn you’re really upset, WHihn harder.

                I just did, chump.. Kicked your ass, again. Scroll down. (snort)

                Whining? ME?

                YOU THREW a SHIT FIT, ENLARGED BY YOUR ENTIRE SQUAD OF
                CYBER-TERRORISTS …. OVER A TYPO!
                A FUCKING TYPO!!!
                (SNEER).

                WHY are the Authoritarian Right so comfortable here, as er-terrorists? That is answered at the bottom of my longer complaint/evidence. Reason protects, defends and covers for them. Hopefully, a low level; staffer who manages the site.

                1. Holy shit, I really upset you, you’re still WHining.

            2. https://reason.com/2019/08/14/donald-trumps-response-to-hong-kong-protests-leaves-much-to-be-desired/#comment-7894166
              .
              Tulpa AKA “Tula”
              August.14.2019 at 10:13 am
              Ahahahah your stupid ass can’t even close tags properly Whihny ahahahahaha

              R Mac
              Lol

              JesseAz
              2 html failures in just a few days. #learntocode

              R Mac
              We’re like a pack of wild dogs!

              Sevo
              Gee, Hihn, you didn’t link to your own statements as you normally do when claiming you have !!!!!PROOF!!!!!
              You just fucked up in general.

              Last of the Shitlords
              HIHN HAS FUCKED UP……..AGAIN!!!!!!!! (Smirk)
              ABSOLUTE PROOF OF HIS STUPIDITY!!!!!!!!!! (Snort)

              Freddy the Jerk
              BEND OVER RON PAUL WORSHIPPER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Sneer)

              loveconstitution1789
              Poor Hihn

              If you’re web savvy. Tulpa SAYS it’s a typo.
              Then JesseAZ snarls than I made TWO typos. In a few days. OH,THE SHAME.

              Translation> Jesse’s “html” is the code for bold, italic, and, others…
              Tulpa’s “closing tag” means closing one of those indented quotes with a grey left border.

              The link at top will show you what drove Tulpa and gang so nuts. I quoted somebody, inside that gray border Then I responded . INSIDE the quote box. Like this.

              This is the first comment.

              My reply should be BELOW the border, flush left

              Like this.

              My dastardly comment is directly above Tulpa’s assault.
              This is cyber-terrorism, undeniable proof. I’m not preparing this for readers. As I’ve said elsewhere, this is prepared for senior editors at the web site, and the Board at the Foundation. Reason not only allows this behavior, they defend it and protect it. I have MUCH proof. FIVE times they deleted a libertarian defending our values (the victim) … and IGNORED the attackers. Plus the FRAUD, which is intentional.

              If one complains about the abuse, it, the page closes that comment, and SAYS it’s being reviewed. Switch browsers, still visible. Refresh the first browser, still looks blocked. FRAUD. BLATANT.

              I now make screenshots of these pages, so if Reason deletes THIS , after reading THIS, that’s a defacto confession. Sorry so long; it’s prepared for senior editors and Board of Directors

              “i will put a stop to this, once and for all”
              -John Galt

              “Mess with the bull; get the horns
              -Unknown

              (PLEASE GOD, NO TYPOS) 🙂

              XOXOXOXO

              1. I made your list. I’m so happy.

                1. I’m sure you are PROUD to be a PROVEN asshole

              2. I now make screenshots of these pages,

                Hey, Western Digital just ticked up!

                1. Polaroids of everything!!!!!

              3. “Tulpa SAYS it’s a typo”

                AHAHAHAHA YOU CAN’T CLOSE TAGS OR READ PROPERLY AAHAHAHHAAHAHAHAHA

                1. What the fuck are you babbling about?
                  What’s a tag?
                  Where did he or she do … whatever caused you shit fit?.

        1. All I said was hi.

          1. Did you accidentally subvocalize a “hn” at the end?

          2. MOAR WHINY BULLSHIT FROM THE UNICORN

            Unicorn Abattoir
            Hi, gecko!

            All I said was hi.

            Hi, gecko!

            FACT, RESEARCH: Cyber-bullies don’t care about looking foolish to the adults in the room … who already know they’re thugs, bullies and aggressors..

            They comment solely to nurture fellow terrorists, which REQUIRES unprovoked assaults, since they LOSE on the issues. (yawn).

            There will be more. Taking one for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ … in the body of Donald Trump.

            FOR OVER 200 YEARS … LIBERTY CANNOT BE SILENCED BY CYBER-BULLIES … NOT EVEN BY HERR TRUMP, WITH ALL HIS POWER.
            GOD BLESS AMERICA!

            1. FOR OVER 200 YEARS … LIBERTY CANNOT BE SILENCED BY CYBER-BULLIES

              Would that be 1789 to 1989?

              1. “OVER” 200 years, Sport.
                He’s caught in a PROVEN psycho lie … so, being vengeful, he adds a TOTAL reading fuckup.”

                GIMME MORE.
                MORE ASSAULTS LIKE THAT!

    3. Way to punch down at the disenfranchised LGBT community. Not cool.

  4. I used to really like Dennis Prager, even when I didn’t agree with him. And if Prager U, as well as LGBTQ+, want to sue for breach of contract due to demonetizing them in violation of their TOS agreements, then go for it.
    But, in the end this isn’t a free speech issue, as Scott points out. Though I get the arguments back and forth about Section 230, I think in the end, I would prefer not to ask the government to step in.

    1. This in full.

    2. I think this goes a little bit further, as YouTube appears to be violating their own company policies, by restricting free expression and freedom to belong. Contractual law and misleading advertisement at least (though their claims to support free expression could make them more vulnerable to free speech complaints as well, but still under the advertising and contract issues).

      1. In other words, the restriction of speech is itself proof that they are breaking their contract and or falsely advertising.

    3. They already stepped in by granting excess legal protections under 230. Even when lawsuits are filed under contract clause terms the suits get dismissed under a San Fran judge under 230 terms, see meagan Murphy. She was forced into the san Fran system based on clauses in the TOS, she’s Canadian, and then the judge dismissed based on 230. The whole 230 only effects moderation is a lie. It’s being used as a wide umbrella to protect favored interests.

  5. Of course, the simple thing would be for Google et al to simply allow all content and stop trying to be nannies. If they feel the need to rate things to protect the sensibilities of special snowflakes, add a general rating system, under the control of viewers only.

    As much as I dislike abusing the legal system this way, I knew this day was going to happen the instant Google et al started discriminating against firearms. Can’t say I feel very sorry for them.

    1. I disagree with a lot of Google’s shennanigans, and know from experience how their culture is corrupted by SJWs and progs. However, at least for the LGBT channel, I understand why they have age-resticted it, and it is solely for business reasons.

      Whether the LGBT people like it or not, Google is running a business that includes millions of kids watching channels on the site. They have a business interest to make that site as non-offensive to those kids’ parents as possible. Just a few months ago, YouTube was in hot water because a large network of people that can only be described as crypto-pedophiles were posting extremely inappropriate content such that kids could see it. And on postings of kids, these crypto-pedos were also posting links and time stamps of where in those videos you could get a flash of a kid’s crotch and other terrible stuff.

      It is absolutely in Google’s best interest to moderate that content- it is not illegal, but it is objectionable to the parents and their kids they want using the site. And sorry, “Watts the Password”, I can totally see why “LGBT Kink education” also makes that list. And if I were running a business I would not ever feel like the best business decision was to just “simply allow all content and stop trying to be nannies”. That is not what your customers demand.

      1. ” these crypto-pedos were also posting links and time stamps ”

        It was MUCH worse than that. People demonstrated that – with just a couple click throughs of those particular links – your ENTIRE side bar ended up loaded with similar content.

        Meaning that Youtube’s own algorithm was recognizing and promoting that particular sort of content in order to promote greater ‘engagement.’

  6. OT: why no mention so far of Rico Suave on Tucker the other day? I want to mock his hair. Along with Shacklefart’s fashion sense.

    1. You’d think that Reason’s official gay dude would be a sharper dresser.

      1. I’m more surprised Robby can dress himself.

  7. “Trying to get the government involved in what sort of videos online platforms promote or hide is going to end badly.”

    It already has been involved and the current situation is the result. What do you think all those “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?”-style statements backed by the implication that a continued favorable regulatory environment is contingent on the right answer during the various rounds of congressional hearings were supposed to accomplish?

    1. Maybe one of the Reason authors can go back to 1996 and talk about what happened to the corporate media landscape after passage of the CDA?

      Because it certainly would provide some much needed perspective to all this silly pseudo-concern over “trying to get” the government involved in something they are already neck deep in.

  8. Those are very interesting notions to hold simultaneously, that YouTube is censoring their content and that YouTube does not give them enough ability to censor publuc comments that they do not like (hate speech is in the eye of the beholder). One has to wonder what sort of content they are putting up if a woke company like YouTube is uncomfortable putting LGTQ oriented content without restrictions.

    1. Profit first, woke second.

      Youtube was much less concerned about all the eyeballs outfits like PragerU (and all sorts of other content creators who have been demonetized and ‘jailed’ of late) were attracting back when they were trying to get the business sorted out.

      Now that they have gone all in with mainstream corporate media there are a lot of victims.

    2. They are an ad selling company before they are a “woke” company. YouTube isn’t uncomfortable. They just don’t want to annoy advertisers and parents who don’t want their kids to see certain things.

      1. So you dont think google is able to ascertain kids content from say… political content and distribute ads in that manner? Crowder isnt getting into my little pony searches. Maybe POGO searches, his music is awesome, but there really isnt a crossing. Crowder was demonitized because a lispy Vox Moron cried out on twitter. Has nothing to do with children. This is the dishonesty of your argument.

  9. YouTube is no more a publisher than a soapbox is in a public area.

    Free speech requires that soapbox just as it does keeping censorship away from the internet.

    The argument that YouTube is a publisher is circular.

    If you allow them to censor, they are a publisher and must continue censoring.

    1. Yeah, insisting that they must fit in one category or the other is silly. Online platforms are a new thing.

      1. Online platforms are a quarter century old thing

        FTFY

        1. When you say ‘online’, what line are you talking about being on? This one?

        2. That’s not very old.

          Quite new compared to publishing.

          1. “That’s not very old”

            The fuck it isn’t.

      2. Online platforms are a new thing.

        I’m dubious, but maybe. Free speech, however, is older than soap boxes. Less old than rent seekers seeking protection and preferential treatment though.

        1. The technology makes it a new type of thing. There was never a publisher that would print absolutely anything that anyone submitted, and only later decide if they want to stop printing it. That’s not even something that was really possible without cheap data storage and fast computer networks.

    2. What makes you a publisher is controlling the content. The moment Youtube wants to exercise control over what goes on their platform, they become a publisher. And there is nothing circular about the argument. They don’t have to keep doing anything. They just have to assume the responsibility that comes with the discretion of publishing.

      1. This is too black and white. If you open up a forum for people to post about video games, and then remove any posts that are not related to video games, that doesn’t make you a publisher- the act of “censoring” this content doesn’t mean that you are suddenly generating the posts.

        YouTube for better or worse wants young people using their platform. That means they put this LBTQ channel behind an age restriction and don’t allow it to show up in search results. And because they sell ads and those advertisers don’t want to pay for ads on “objectionable” content, YouTube restricts who can make money off ads. These decisions are the sort of thing any business should make when they are trying to make a platform for specific audiences. That doesn’t make them a publisher. The key distinction is not that they curate content, the distinction is whether or not they are generating the content themselves.

        1. These decisions are the sort of thing any business should make when they are trying to make a platform for specific audiences.

          That is a decision any publisher would make. What you are describing is targeting your content to specific groups. That is what publishers do not common carriers.

          1. And YouTube is not a common carrier. They are a platform. Platforms =/= Common Carriers. As I said, just because you target your platform to a specific audience doesn’t make you a publisher. And that was the whole reason Section 230 was created. They wanted people to be able to set up platforms that catered to diverse audiences. If you wanted a liberal prog talk message forum, then you could do that. The fact that you tried to encourage an audience of progressives didn’t make you a publisher.

            What makes you a publisher is if your employees or people under contract with you (Paid to produce content under your control) produce the content on your site. Alternatively if you are publishing independent content that you specifically purchased, you could be a publisher[1]. And by the way, even publishers who operate a forum are provided 230 protections for those forums.

            [1]I get what you are saying- that at some point if you moderate so heavily that you are de facto only purchasing very select content, you should be considered a publisher. But that is not black and white- you need to show that the moderation is so pervasive as to be curation. Moderation alone does not automatically make you a publisher.

            1. And YouTube is not a common carrier. They are a platform. Platforms =/= Common Carriers.

              Shove your mealy-mouthed, underhanded, disingenuous bullshit right back up your ass where it came from. Neither Title II nor Section 230 uses the term platform formally or otherwise and, as such, YouTube shouldn’t be covered. You’ve, invented a legal term that doesn’t exist to defend Congress’s successive interventions in the market from Title II to Section 230 and likely beyond.

              If AT&T or Comcast started saying tomorrow “We’re aren’t a monopolistic common carrier, we’re a revolutionary platform.” and started rewriting TOS and contracts, rescinding service to individuals who hadn’t violated any contracts or laws, you’d be flummoxed trying to figure out if you could shove your words down the memory hole fast enough to avoid eating them.

              1. Next time try being even more of a dick. That’s the best way to convince people of things.

                1. Being a spineless fucking equivocator is so much better…

                2. Hes right. Sorry zeb. You can be a libertarian and understand why contracts are good and be against the type of contractual behavior google and twitter engage in.

                  If youtube was clear and concise in their rules there wouldnt be an issue. Nobody attacked the knitting site as they gave a clear and concise rule.

        2. This is too black and white. If you open up a forum for people to post about video games, and then remove any posts that are not related to video games, that doesn’t make you a publisher- the act of “censoring” this content doesn’t mean that you are suddenly generating the posts.

          YouTube, for better or worse, marketed itself as a platform where you could choose your viewing experience and watch what you want. It said it was recommending the most popular–i.e. most viewed things. It said you could subscribe to and watch the channels you chose. It gave to a way to guard your children’s viewing, to upload and become a creator yourself and more.

          Nowhere did it ever say that it was going to choose what you could see. Nowhere did it ever say that it was going to selectively ban certain comments, videos, or streams. Nowhere did it say that it was going to enforce a political orthodoxy.

          And they made you sign up. They made you agree to a contract that they ignore or enforce at whim.

          For that reason alone–breach of contract– Reason is on the wrong side of this.

          Government DOES in fact have a place in enforcing contracts.

          1. “Nowhere did it ever say that it was going to choose what you could see. ”

            Yes they did say they would remove objectionable content. They have always said that they have the right to remove such content.

            “Nowhere did it ever say that it was going to selectively ban certain comments, videos, or streams.”

            First, that is not what is happening here. They have not banned these people. They have put them behind an age restriction, and demonitized them. These features were put in place after parents started prohibiting their kids from accessing the site and advertisers decided to stop funding ads because they didn’t want to be associated with certain content. But you can still go visit Prager U and the LBGTQ channel today, assuming you are not on an account restricted by your parents. You can search for both channels and they come up in the search results- again assuming you are not on an age restricted account.

            “They made you agree to a contract that they ignore or enforce at whim.”

            And perhaps this is true. But that has nothing to do with section 230 which was the point of my reply. A company can be running a platform, and not be a publisher, AND violate its terms of service. If a court agrees, fine with me.

            1. that has nothing to do with section 230

              Which would be weird because it’s the very sort of protection from private suit that Section 230 explicitly addresses both in letter and in spirit.

              It’s not even a good lie, why keep repeating it?

            2. Define objectionable content. There is a reason laws are struck down on vagueness terms.

            3. And yes it does have to do with 230. See the Twitter lawsuit and dismissal with Meagan Murphy. There is a reason that suit dismissal isnt mentioned ever by the writers here.

        3. These decisions are the sort of thing any business should make when they are trying to make a platform for specific audiences. That doesn’t make them a publisher. The key distinction is not that they curate content, the distinction is whether or not they are generating the content themselves.

          Publishing – noun. – the occupation, business, or activity of preparing and issuing books, journals, and other material for sale.

          Generating a platform or medium isn’t publishing. Printers and binders aren’t publishers. Generating content isn’t publishing. Artists aren’t, by virtue of their creations, publishers. Taking someone else’s content and adapting, tailoring, curating it to a medium for business, sale, or profit is the very definition of publishing.

          Fucking Christ! They curate their content exactly like a publisher would but that doesn’t make them a publisher!! They pull all manner of licensing and distribution shenanigans that would get a common carrier stripped of their protections but that doesn’t make them something other than a common carrier!!! They enjoy the same protections as every other publisher/common carrier that the 1A already protects!!!!! You doubters and your circular arguments about free speech!!!

          1. They don’t curate their content exactly like a publisher. They do in some ways, but not all. What publisher pulishes everything that anyone submits and only later selectively withdraws certain things?
            Your citiation of one definition of the word is irrelevant and begs the question. This whole argument is pretty much about how “publisher” should be defined.

            1. Their original terms of service stated they would do a revenue share of creators migrated to their site. YouTube arbitrarily changed that.

      2. What makes it circular is the law around control/ censorship and publishing.

        It is about control. If censorship is exercised they become publishers. Publishers are by law responsible for the content they publish.

        If they don’t exercise control, they aren’t responsible for the content that appears on their platform/ soapbox.

        If they choose to censor, they are.

        People need platforms/ soapboxes to speak freely and we need the right to use them as such.

        1. You “need” it. Sow you have a “right” to … somebody else’s property.
          We now have Marxism in two competing versions — left and right.

          1. I do need a platform or soapbox to be able to share the truth even when the corrupt and brainwashed think it’s objectionable.

            That is the fundamental reason free speech is a constitutional right.

            If you are happy repeating only politically correct narratives and being censored and controlled, then having only publishers won’t bother you at all.

    3. “If you allow them to censor, they are a publisher and must continue censoring.”

      Fine, just hold them to the same standards as any other publisher.

      If you want soapboxes then clarify Section 230 to require soapboxes be uncensored.

      1. If you want soapboxes then clarify Section 230 to require soapboxes be uncensored.

        Soapboxes aren’t censored. Those that are are protected by the 1A. Section 230 creates specially protected soapboxes.

  10. The reality is that YouTube is providing a hosting platform so large that there are going to be mishaps and confusion in applying its ultimately subjective regulations.

    Weird how this sort of thing is going to happen and how we just happen to have a branch of our legal system set up to arbitrate such mishaps, confusion, and misunderstandings.

    1. To be fair to Shackelton, he does say that the contractual obligations parts of the complaints are the parts with some merit.

      1. They have a lot of merit. Youtube committed fraud on Prager U. Prager U used the platform relying on the terms of service put forward by Youtube. Then, after building their business relying on the platform, Youtube broke their terms of service and kicked them off.

        If Youtube wants to have a platform that only allows leftwing content, that is certainly their right. What is not their right is to have a terms of service that assures their customers there will not be any content discrimination and then do the opposite.

        1. Yes, I agree. Courts getting involved is quite appropriate in cases like that.

        2. Prager U was not kicked off. They were put behind an age restriction, and they were demonitized. The justification was that some of their content was objectionable (probably language from the bible, or discussing some particularly violent event).

          I don’t understand why YouTube did this, but am not sure Prager U will prevail here. Likely what happened is some prog at YouTube decided they didn’t like Prager U, and so they looked as hard as they could for the smallest content that would invoke the “Objectionable Content” rules. Perhaps they can try to make hay from the fact that other more objectionable content remains un-filtered, but as noted in the article, plenty of other sites like Discovery Network and the History Channel also get the same rating. So YouTube will probably be able to say “Hey we try to apply our terms of service, and certainly some people will manage to elude this filtering. But just because these people got through the filter does not mean we are failing to uphold our terms of service agreement with Prager U.”

          This is going to be hard for Prager U. They need to show either that their content doesn’t violate the terms, or that YouTube’s terms are so vague as to make it impossible for Prager U to comply.

          Personally, if I were Prager, I would just create a second channel called Prager Elementary and only add content to it that passes the filter test.

          1. The content may not have been removed, but if they were demonitized when their business model was based on an agreement with YouTube, then the business was effectively kicked off.

          2. It is going to be very easy to show their content didn’t violate the TOS. And Prague was demonitorize which means they can no longer use the platform as a revenue source, which was the entire point of being on there.

            It is amazing how in love you people are with tech companies. You really seem to think they are above the law.

          3. What would be a win for Prager, if we had an honest legal system, would be to show that similarly objectionable material, of a leftist bent, was not dealt with the same way.
            It is funny – not really – that all of the “mistakes” seem to be falling upon only one side of the political spectrum.
            Anyone, with half a brain, knows that virtually everything coming from the homosexual/gender dysphoric community is objectionable to most.

            1. Fascism + Brainwashed + Bigoted = Trump’s America

        3. Youtube committed fraud on Prager U. Prager U used the platform relying on the terms of service put forward by Youtube.

          Prove it.
          Adults never try to “want” something into existance.

      2. To be fair to Shackelton, he does say that the contractual obligations parts of the complaints are the parts with some merit.

        Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to extrapolate that to the inherent fraud stated as part of ‘Freedom To Belong’. And, per the norm at Reason, ignores the relatively blatant fact that Section 230, even when not explicitly invoked, puts YouTube at a distinct advantage in such disputes.

  11. Uh oh. Scott will likely be murdered in his sleep tonight, then his home burned to the ground. How dare he expose the Google conspiracy against conservatives? This could take Triumpland’s conspiracies below the required minimum of 18.

    1. Shut up Hihn you crazy, stupid bastard.

    2. NEEDS MORE SPITTLE FLECKED, BOLD FACED RANTING

      1. Unicorn Abattoir
        NEEDS MORE SPITTLE FLECKED, BOLD FACED RANTING

        I prefer calling you out as shameless coward, bullshitter
        WITH PROOF
        https://reason.com/2019/08/15/is-youtube-discriminating-against-both-conservatives-and-lgbt-videos-two-lawsuits-say-yes/#comment-7896591

        1. Yes, that is proof of your SPITTLE FLECKED BOLD FACED RANTING.

          WHihn more.

          1. I’ve got FIVE stalkers today! LOVE it. That I can create so much
            rage, and expose so much hatred, so easily.

            Libertarians have been HATED by the Authoritarian Right, for almost all our 50 years … as they shrink and we grow. THEIR vicious nastiness has has been our greatest recruiting tool, along with the Authoritarian Left (which is mostly just wacky)..

            Left – Right =Zero.

            1. Fuck off, Hihn!

              1. “I proved NL CORRECT! And I am PROUD to stand with the hate-spewing alt-right! Trumpland, Trumpland, Ub-er Al-Les.”

  12. By defining the internet as platforms, free from legal obligations for content, the Government already became involved. This was a new law, creating a new class of protection that more established forms of media didn’t enjoy. People are rightly pissed off by these platforms tactics, but powerless to sue. Are we surprised people are now calling for more laws? Yes, I know the argument, free market and all, but I see little evidence of competition. In fact, it seems like any time anyone starts to threaten these companies preeminence, these companies buy them out. So yes, free markets, but currently there is no viable alternative. When gun rights groups have to go to pornhub because it is one of the few platforms that will allow them to openly speak their minds there may be a problem. People are fed up and angry, that rarely results in more freedom. Maybe instead of always defending these bad actors, Reason could legitimately condemn their actions. That doesn’t require a call for more laws, but it may require a re-examination of current laws. Is YouTube living up to the spirit of the law? Is section 230 so broad that even legitimate contract disputes are being shut down? Are activist judges using section 230 to forgive any and all bad behavior? I would love to see a in depth examination of that by Reason. The knee-jerk denial that there is a problem, or accusing anyone who is impacted as being authoritarian or snowflakes, is hardly exemplary. Yes we get it the internet is about freedom baby (read that in Austin Powers’ voice) but is it possible these companies, along with some Government enablers are making a mockery of that freedom? And the demonetising of a single LGBT group hardly disproves PragerU’s point. That is just another form of Whataboutism.

  13. Why must YOU be satisfied by competition?

    The knee-jerk denial that there is a problem,

    Too funny!

    Show of hands, does ANY sentient being thinks he or she searches BOTH liberal and conservative on Google. And has ANY clue about more than 0.0000001 of Google’s content.

    Today’s alt-right. Wants censorship because they oppose censorship! Says that in public!!

    Leftwing snowflakes = Rightywing snowflakes.
    As libertarians aren’t sure whether to laugh or sob.

  14. Eu tenho um canal no youtube também, muito obrigado por nos manter informado com esse blog de qualidade!!!

    Eu tenho um blog também, mas claro que não chega aos pé do de vocês, mas estou começando, vou deixar aqui para quem quiser ver:
    https://rendadevendas.com/

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