The internet’s largest outlets for speech are slowly curtailing the kind of speech they allow, and never in a way that’s advantageous or encouraging to facts, discourse, or non-progressive thought.
Big Intenet is an increasingly hostile place for non-progressive thought and even science.
YouTube, who has a long, well-documented history of shutting down conservative and non-progressive channels is now using Wikipedia to fact check videos on global warming.
From The Daily Caller:
The company began adding small blurbs to “global warming” videos on July 9, according to the report. Text on the videos state: “multiple lines of scientific evidence show that the climate system is warming.” YouTube claims the policy, which is not implemented outside the U.S., is designed to add context to content dealing with climate change.
YouTube is using an algorithm rather than people to decide which videos get the blurbs and which do not, a spokesperson for the company told BuzzFeed. The feature comes off the heels of the company’s announcement in March that it would fact check topics that regularly promote conspiracy theories suggesting the government faked the moon landing or was involved in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Environmentalists are cheering the move, while climate skeptics are crying foul. “I’d guess that it will have some influence, at least on those people who don’t know much about the subject,” Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, told reporters. “Might be confusing to some people, but that’s probably better than just accepting the denier video at face value.”
One free market think tank that typically discusses climate change from a skeptical position noticed the changes early on. The Heartland Institute, a free market group based in Washington, D.C., told BuzzFeed that the labels began appearing on its videos about two weeks ago. Another conservative group claimed YouTube’s newfound practice demonstrates the company’s liberal bias.
“Despite claiming to be a public forum and a platform open to all, YouTube is clearly a left-wing organization,” Craig Strazzeri, a marketing analyst for conservative Internet outlet PragerU, told reporters. “This is just another mistake in a long line of giant missteps that erodes America’s trust in Big Tech, much like what has already happened with the mainstream news media.”
Earlier this year, YouTube instated new rules on videos linking to or promiting the sale of guns and fun accessories.
YouTube shut down our channel briefly, restricted several PragerU videos that weren’t remotely controversial (PragerU sued Google and YouTube), and banned Jordan Peterson before reinstating his channel (Google also kicked him out of his Google accounts at the same time). And this is just a small sampling.
Though not doing so outright, the internet’s largest outlets for speech are slowly curtailing the kind of speech they allow, and never in a way that’s advantageous or encouraging to facts, discourse, or non-progressive thought.
Tuesday, Professor Jacobson blogged about the Big Tech storm that mounted a coordinated deplatforming of Alex Jones. As Professor Jacobson rightly pointed out, it has nothing to do with Jones. Jones was a test. No one credible or respectable would or has defended Jones for good reason. But if Google, Facebook, YouTube, and Spotify can do it to Alex Jones, they can do it anyone.
Even Slate is concerned about unelected entities regulating speech. “Whatever they do with conspiracy theorists, placing the distribution of information in the hands of a few tech companies will remain a very big problem,” writes Isaac Chotiner.
We’re effectively dealing with a free speech crisis wherein the enemy is not (amazingly) the government, but tech behemoths who’ve created the realm where the majority of speech, discussion, and thought is placed and now get to make the rules concerning what thought is allowed and what is too offensive for the public arena. There is no recourse, no appeal process, no justice system, just the court of public opinion.
It’s downright terrifying.