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.