Censorship at YouTube … Again

I just learned this morning that the video content I linked to at the beginning of “Coronavirus / COVID-19” has been removed by YouTube for “violating community standards.” Which means that my readers will not be able to access that material and get the essential background.

YouTube is, of course, owned by Google.

This is a dramatic and near-immediate confirmation of one of the points I made late in my article, which is that if the Internet started out as our era’s Gutenberg Press, those days are gone. Those with money and power are cracking down more and more on the free flow of information online. Ever more videos are being removed from YouTube, sometimes with channels being canceled as well if they dispense information which Big Tech has collectively decided falls outside the boundaries of acceptable discourse.

I don’t need to list the instances of this new form of censorship sometimes called deplatforming. We all know about them.

The days of the Web as the go-to place for truthful information will soon be gone if truth-tellers cannot create their own platforms and upload their content there, or else find platforms not owned by persons or organizations who engage in censorship. I’ve changed the link, but until this information is in a safer place, this is a quick-fix at best.

I am aware of those arguments that start with the premise that these are private companies (Google, Facebook, and all the rest) and can allow on their site, or deplatform, anyone they want.

I also believe that Big Tech’s billions in financial resources / revenue gives them not just an “unfair” advantage but a level of potential control over information in cyberspace that is socially and educationally extremely undesirable.

Which is why I’ve become an advocate of reclassifying the Big Tech firms as public utilities and being done with it.

And if it comes to that, for the federal government to take the steps necessary to break up these leviathan corporations. That, I’m also aware, is not a perfect solution because the federal government is hardly a neutral party in this sphere! Just a buffer in what is becoming an ongoing power struggle!

What we need: independent platforms in cyberspace!

Most of us who do research and dispense our findings on blogs simply do not have the necessary tech skills, or the time it would take to acquire them. The search should be on for those who do.

About Steven Yates

I have a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Georgia and teach Critical Thinking (mostly in English) at Universidad Nacionale Andrés Bello in Santiago, Chile. I moved here in 2012 from South Carolina. My most recent book is entitled Four Cardinal Errors: Reasons for the Decline of the American Republic (2011). I am the author of an earlier book, around two dozen articles & reviews, & still more articles on commentary sites on the Web. I live in Santiago with my wife Gisela & two spoiled cats, Bo & Princesa.
This entry was posted in Coronavirus, Media, Political Economy, Where is Civilization Going? and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Censorship at YouTube … Again

  1. southernactivism says:

    The real point and problem, Steven, is that Facebook et al are forums illegally operating as publishers. They need to be nailed on that basis. Breaking them up won’t change a thing, I fear — just multiply the problem.

    Lost Generation — the 1920s, or are you a 1950s ‘Beat’ at heart? 😉

    • Steven Yates says:

      Hmmm, that’s something I hadn’t thought of. Let me stew on it a while.

      “Lost Generation” here refers to the academic lost generation, those of us who got our PhDs after the collapse of the academic job market in the 1970s. It was an environment in which every tenure-track job opening fetched hundreds of applications. Many PhDs who finished their degrees during those years sought but never found academic employment; one we see articles about the “cab-driving PhD.” Later, in the 1990s, things opened up a little. Many who found academic employment then, or later, (the category I am in) were Adjunct-Zoned (part-timed), and found that university teaching paid so little we couldn’t survive without outside work … I sold collectables on eBay. Eventually for that and other reasons (increasing intolerance from the campus cultural left; senior faculty just coasting toward retirement who didn’t care; general, all-around corruption) I left.

      There is more than one academic “lost generation” now, since things went from bad to worse with the 2008 financial meltdown, and never turned around (or so I hear). I imagine this COVID-19 episode will force some institutions to start closing when their students don’t cotton to paying a fortune to learn at a computer terminal instead of a physical classroom and go elsewhere (or nowhere).

      Interesting debate over on Quora whether getting a PhD is worth it. Probably not.

  2. ivorybastard says:

    Jordan Peterson along with likeminded others have created just such a censorship free platform called “Think Spot” and it’s related instant messenger called “Gab”.

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