YouTube Removes Videos of Putin Critic in Latest Act of Corporate Censorship

We have been discussing the rising support for corporate censorship among leading Democratic politicians, academics, and writers. Social media and Internet companies now actively respond to calls from government officials to silence those with opposing views. The latest such example is Google-owned YouTube removing videos of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny before Russia’s parliamentary elections.  Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Apple Inc. also pulled a voting app from Navalny ahead of the election. Nevertheless, CEO Susan Wojcicki bizarrely claimed in a Bloomberg interview Bloomberg Television that free speech remains a “core value” for the company.

Wojcicki explained that “[w]hen we work with governments, there are many things that we have to take in consideration, whether it’s local laws or what’s happening on the ground.” There is an alternative. You could simply protect free speech as the defining value of your company, particularly when “what’s happening on the ground” is an authoritarian crackdown against reformers and democratic change.

Russia banned Navalny’s groups as “extremist” organizations before the election to rig the election and YouTube carried out the orders of the Kremlin in the anti-democratic crackdown.

This is not the first such example of these companies carrying out the censorship directives from political figures. We have previously discussed Twitter’s robust censorship program that repeatedly has been denounced for bias in taking sides on scientificsocial, and political controversies. Twitter admitted to censoring criticism of India’s government and the company later flagged a critic of the Chinese government.

This is also a concern in the United States where politicians have demanded greater corporate censorship. Members of Congress are now pushing for public and private censorship on the internet and in other forums. They are being joined by an unprecedented alliance of academics, writers and activists calling for everything from censorship to incarceration to blacklists. For example, an article published in The Atlantic by Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith and University of Arizona law professor Andrew Keane Woods called for Chinese-style censorship of the internet, stating that “in the great debate of the past two decades about freedom versus control of the network, China was largely right and the United States was largely wrong.”

Companies like YouTube are now acting as effective state medias in managing a massive system of censorship and speech controls. The action taken in Russia makes a mockery of claims that such censorship is meant to protect democracy. The only core value revealed in YouTube’s action is profit at any cost.

113 thoughts on “YouTube Removes Videos of Putin Critic in Latest Act of Corporate Censorship”

  1. I do my best to avoid Google, but it very pervasive in today’s society. Regardless of what they do, they will come for them and turn them into a Pravda subsidiary

  2. Meanwhile the EU antitrust authority is fining Google 5 billion dollars for unfair business practices in monopolizing the market shares of android systems. Android represents 70% of European mobile phones and Google captured 97% of Android searches.

    Where are the U.S. antitrust authorities?

  3. Not only does the Hunter Biden saga highlight the bias of the corporate press, it illustrates the dangers of the disinformation police and how a monopoly on truth is forfeited to corrupt elites.

    A study commissioned by the Media Research Center weeks after the election surveyed Biden voters across eight swing states and examined their knowledge of several news stories the group felt the media had not fairly or adequately covered, including the Hunter Biden laptop scandal.

    Of the 1,750 surveyed, 17 percent said they would not have voted for Biden had they known just one of eight stories presented. Biden narrowly carried seven of the eight states polled, including Arizona, Wisconsin, and Georgia. Trump would still be in office had the incumbent just captured 45,000 more votes across those three tipping-point states — well within the margin of those who said learning about the Hunter laptop would have shifted their votes.

      1. Anti-Trump news true or false was all over the headline. Anti-Biden news that was true and devastating was kept out of the news media and said to be not true.

        Can you explain what your point was?

      2. I bet you’d find the same thing if you polled people about specific Trump news, especially in 2016.
        President Trump didn’t take office until 2017. He was elected in 2016. Even with all the lies spread by the media.

  4. Professor Turley is quoted today in the UK Telegraph re: ACLU and Woke censorship

    US free speech group accused of ‘woke’ censorship after removing ‘women’ from Ginsburg abortion quote

    On the first anniversary of the Supreme Court Justice’s death, the (ACLU) civil rights group published part of one her best known speeches, but changed the wording to make it gender neutral.

    At Ginsburg’s confirmation hearing in 1993 she was asked her position on abortion.

    In a quote that would be widely repeated in the following decades, she said: “The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her well-being and dignity. It is a decision she must make for herself.

    “When the government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a full adult human responsible for her own choices.”

    But in the version that the ACLU shared on Twitter, it removed any reference to women.

    The new quote read: “The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a [person’s] life, to [their] well-being and dignity.

    “When the government controls that decision for [people], [they are] being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for [their] own choices.”

    Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, said: “Ginsburg herself would have had little patience with such woke revisionism.

    “If one accepts this view that the reference to ‘woman’ is offensive, you can still accept that historical documents should be read in their original form.”

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