Conservative media figuresare deriding a new YouTube policy, arguing it censors free speech and could have a disproportionate impact on right-leaning commentators.
Announced on Wednesday, the policy seemed to come in reaction to a months-long controversy surrounding comedian Steven Crowder and his comments about Vox writer Carlos Maza's sexuality.
Wednesday's announcementtargets harassment and builds onthe platform's hate speech policy announced in June. The new guidelines would prohibit "demeaning language that goes too far" specifically, content that "maliciously insults someonebased on protected attributes such as their race, gender expression, or sexual orientation."
YOUTUBE FACES MASS BACKLASH AFTER CLAIMING IT ACTED WITHOUT 'POLITICAL BIAS'
The massively popular platform previously demonetized Crowder's videos claiming that he "harmed the broader community" at YouTube but acknowledged they didn't violate the company's standards at the time.
It's unclear how YouTube would determine "malicious" intent but the guidelines indicate it would include, for example, repeatedly using pronouns other than someone's preferred ones.According to conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, the policy may seem harmless but actually contains "insanely vague" standards that could result in censoring conservative ideas.
"Read in the most charitable way, this could simply be attempting to get rid of Nazi content, for example," he told Fox News on Wednesday."But the language is far too broad to be restricted this way."
He pointed to potential problems surrounding debates about biology in athletics and individuals who identify as an alternate gender. He also cited videos that call out disparities between Muslims and Christians, as revealed by polling data something Shapiro himself has done in a video posted on YouTube.
YOUTUBE ENDS MONETIZATION OF CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR STEVEN CROWDER'S CHANNEL, SEVER OTHERS AFTER LEFT-WING OUTRAGE
Shapiro added that YouTube's vagueness would continue to harm public trust in the company.
"When YouTube says that they want to 'want to reduce the spread of content that comes right up to the line,'they haven't defined the lineSo now they've written themselves a blank check to ban whatever content they like, calling it 'questionable,'" he said.
"They've now created a set of constantly moving goalposts, and assured us that we ought to trust them. But it's lack of trust in their judgment and understanding that has already created their public perception problems. These new guidelines will exacerbate that problem."
Brandon Straka, the #WalkAway campaign founder who identifies as gay, similarly criticized the policy.
"Though targeted harassment and bullying is something all people should be able to agree has no place in the arena of public discourse, sadly this ideal is rarely upheld when conservative opinions are being targeted by leftist bullying and harassment," he told Fox News.
He also said that YouTube was shifting power away from creators on the platform. "YouTubes policies remove the power from the creator to control their own discussions and engagement, and allow YouTube the freedom to discriminate and the power to control our political and cultural narratives online."
Media Research Center Vice President Dan Gainor similarlyblasted the proposal, suggesting it was reminiscent ofthe dystopian novel "1984."
"This is YouTube anti-free speech loons trying to make the world one giant safe space ... It's insanity and the censors will never be happy until everyone has their speech restricted," he said.
PRAGERU EXEC BLASTS YOUTUBE'S 'LAUGHABLE' CLAIM IT'S POLITICALLY NEUTRAL
Gainor runs MRC'sTechWatch program, which monitors bias from organizations like YouTube. He told Fox Newsthat YouTube's new policy would force them to "go back in time and censor thousands of movies and TVshows."
Crowder did not immediately respond to a request for comment but, prior to the policy's release, he previewed company changes by predicting that a YouTube "purge" was coming.
Crowder's online rival, Maza, apparently wasn't satisfied with the new guidelines either.
After a series of skeptical tweets, Maza said: "YouTube loves to manage PR crises by rolling out vague content policies they don't actually enforce. These policies only work if YouTube is willing to take down its most popular rule-breakers. And there's no reason, so far, to believe that it is."
Google, YouTube's parent company, declined to comment but responded to "purge" concerns byreferringFox News to tweets regarding its terms of service.
Wednesday's backlash was just the latest againstthe tech giant, which has claimed that it doesn't engage in political bias. The group has been the target of complaints from conservative groups like Live Action and PragerU, both of which seek to educate people on hot-button issues like abortion. Google also reportedly removed more than 300 Trump campaign videos, although YouTube's CEO has said political bias isn't built into her algorithms.
Craig Strazzeri, PragerU's chief marketing officer, previously told Fox News that the company was restricting their content simply because they were conservatives.
A PragerU lawsuit from earlier this year charged the company with defrauding the public and obtaining special legal status by wrongly claiming to be a neutral public forum.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
On Wednesday, Strazzeri said YouTube's policy was troubling and would likely limit free speech. It's always been YouTube's strategy to use increasingly vague and broad guidelines as a way to silence conservative voices," he said.
"To YouTube any criticism is now seen as 'harassment'and this is a troubling sign that will lead to more censorship and less free speech online. YouTube should look in the mirror, since they have been harassing us for years and restricting hundreds of our videos."
- Critics Say China Has Suppressed And Censored Information In Coronavirus Outbreak - NPR - February 14th, 2020
- Transgender users have accused TikTok of censorship - here's why - Derry Journal - February 14th, 2020
- Rand Paul Blasts YouTube over Censorship of Speech on Senate Floor - Breitbart - February 14th, 2020
- Newspapers fear new social media rules will lead to wider censorship - The Guardian - February 14th, 2020
- Anti-BDS laws are meant to censor & control speech, journalist Abby Martin tells RT after suing Georgia govt over cancelled talk - RT - February 14th, 2020
- Be more tolerant, Anwar tells Malaysians over art censorship - Malay Mail - February 14th, 2020
- China's censors tried to control the narrative on a hero doctor's death. It backfired terribly - CNN - February 12th, 2020
- China Ramps Up Censorship On Coronavirus As Critics Risk Criminal Charges - Forbes - February 12th, 2020
- Heres How China Is Silencing Coronavirus Critics in the U.S. - VICE - February 12th, 2020
- Here are the 9 titles Netflix purged due to government censorship - The Next Web - February 12th, 2020
- Parler: Twitter Suspending James OKeefe Is Political Censorship and Election Interference - Breitbart - February 12th, 2020
- Censorship, lies and death: China's government under fire - TheArticle - February 12th, 2020
- A glimmer of hope: Mallika Sarabhai on the cancelled NID event, CAA protests, censorship and more - Scroll.in - February 12th, 2020
- Penny Thoughts: Editing and Censorship | - West Alabama Watchman - January 30th, 2020
- The many ways to censor cutting-edge art in Russia - The Economist - January 30th, 2020
- How does a government censor the Internet? A rare peek from Jammu and Kashmir - Security Boulevard - January 30th, 2020
- Pompeo And Trump: Censure Of The Press As A Form Of Retaliation - Forbes - January 30th, 2020
- Circus of censorship - The News on Sunday - January 30th, 2020
- Study: North Korea, China, and Russia top internet censorship charts - The Next Web - January 22nd, 2020
- Cries of censorship in Sudan as media outlets linked to old regime closed - Middle East Eye - January 22nd, 2020
- Aichi Triennale Exhibition Will Be Restaged in Taiwan Following Censorship Controversy - Artforum - January 22nd, 2020
- Censorship On and By Social Media Platforms - Legal Reader - January 22nd, 2020
- Internet Censorship In Africa Is A Trend In Africa - What To Expect In 2020 - WeeTracker Media - January 22nd, 2020
- The spy who fell off my family tree and nearly got away - The Jewish News of Northern California - January 22nd, 2020
- Some people in China help the party police the internet - The Economist - January 22nd, 2020
- Nepal: Information Technology Bill threatens freedom of expression - Amnesty International - January 22nd, 2020
- Web needs an element of censorship as some of it is bordering on pornography: Niki Walia - IWMBuzz - January 22nd, 2020
- Facebook and Google Balance Booming Business with Censorship Pressure in Vietnam - The Information - December 13th, 2019
- Orban targets theaters, prompting protest against censorship - The Boston Globe - December 13th, 2019
- Self-censorship is the enemy of creativity - Spiked - December 13th, 2019
- Anti-war artworks removed in censorship row - The Age - December 13th, 2019
- Women Are Pretending To Be Men On Instagram To Avoid Sexist Censorship - HuffPost - November 24th, 2019
- When a comedian is pro-censorship, I start finding them funny - The Spectator USA - November 24th, 2019
- Cancelation of 'The Foreigner' at WC leads to claims of censorship - The Star Democrat - November 24th, 2019
- Democrats are not "censoring" Donald Trump his increasingly desperate staff is doing that - Salon - November 24th, 2019
- The right to know: How does censorship affect academics? - Big Think - November 19th, 2019
- Even with the best intentions, censoring books is dangerous - The Aggie - November 19th, 2019
- Will the U.S. Follow East Germany on Self-Censorship? - National Review - November 19th, 2019
- Tougher Than Leather: The Tom of Finland Foundation's Fight Against Censorship Continues Into the Social Media Age - L.A. Weekly - November 19th, 2019
- Sara Lee Responds to SNL's Sexually Charged Sketch, Reverses Instagram Censorship: 'We Are Taking It in Stride' - Yahoo Entertainment - November 19th, 2019
- MENstruation: A full analysis of censorship on television networks - The Gateway - November 19th, 2019
- Inside the "Reckless" World of In-Flight Movie Censoring - InsideHook - November 19th, 2019
- Disney Plus Censors Gravity Falls, The Simpsons - Pirates and Princesses - November 19th, 2019
- Russian internet censorship could come the U.S. - Inverse - November 13th, 2019
- Campus censorship: a tyranny of the minority - Spiked - November 13th, 2019
- TOTO: Disney, Netflix Wave White Flag On International Censorship - The Daily Wire - November 13th, 2019
- Delhi HC's order for social media censorship is an end to the internet as we know it - The News Minute - November 13th, 2019
- Censorship and online threats against the press spell trouble for the future of Pakistani journalism - Global Voices - October 1st, 2019
- No trivial censorship at Hayner: Librarians bust out the banned books - Alton Telegraph - October 1st, 2019
- China: Sinisation of the Catholic Church, Censorship, and Repression - FSSPX.News - October 1st, 2019
- Censorship and Contemporary Banned Books - Pinnacle - October 1st, 2019
- YouTube reverses the not-so-subtle censorship of Steven Crowder and others - Reclaim The Net - October 1st, 2019
- Joe Biden wants to censor Rudy Giuliani - Whats on Politics - Politics - October 1st, 2019
- Censorship leaves us in the dark: Keep the light on! - Del Rio News Herald - October 1st, 2019
- Censorship - Wikipedia - April 26th, 2019
- On Censorship - The Catholic Thing - April 26th, 2019
- How Media Censorship Affects the News You See - April 26th, 2019
- Censorship - Definition, Examples, Cases - Legal Dictionary - April 26th, 2019
- Censorship | Encyclopedia.com - April 26th, 2019
- China Is Trying to Scrub Bikinis and Smoking From the Internet - April 11th, 2019
- What Is Censorship? | American Civil Liberties Union - March 6th, 2019
- American Censorship - The Government's Act of Altering Media - January 12th, 2019
- Censorship | Define Censorship at Dictionary.com - January 3rd, 2019
- Censorship Synonyms, Censorship Antonyms | Thesaurus.com - September 12th, 2018
- Godless Comedy YouTube Censorship - Godless Comedy - August 20th, 2018
- Sen. Chris Murphy calls for more Silicon Valley censorship ... - August 13th, 2018
- Censorship of Facebook - Wikipedia - August 2nd, 2018
- Project Censored - The News that Didn't Make the News and Why - June 22nd, 2018
- Project Censored The News that Didn't Make the News and Why - March 17th, 2018
- Banned Books That Shaped America | Banned Books Week - March 17th, 2018
- FACT - Freedom Against Censorship Thailand ... - February 24th, 2018
- GELLER: Social Media Censorship Panel at CPAC James Damore ... - February 23rd, 2018
- Censorship in Turkey - Wikipedia - February 6th, 2018
- Censorship by country - Wikipedia - February 1st, 2018
- Ethereum Applications: How to Spend Your Ether? - December 27th, 2017
- How to Buy and Sell Monero - December 27th, 2017
- How to Buy and Sell Monero - December 24th, 2017
- Ethereum Applications: How to Spend Your Ether? - December 24th, 2017
- How to Store Ethereum: Review of Best ETH Wallets 2017-2018 - December 18th, 2017
- How to Store Ethereum: Review of Best ETH Wallets 2017-2018 - December 17th, 2017