YouTube admitted to The Daily Caller News Foundation that some of its newer content moderators “may misapply some of our policies resulting in mistaken removals.”
In other words, YouTube, a subsidiary of Google parent company Alphabet, is going overboard in its more recent purges of conservative or alt-right social media accounts. Bloomberg was the first to report on YouTube’s comments.
YouTube enlisted 10,000 employees in December specifically to oversee accounts and the content they produce. And they seemed to be especially utilized during the aftermath of the mass school shooting in Parkland Florida. A number of highly erroneous conspiracy theories were peddled on the platform by a number of fringe accounts, and YouTube ultimately removed them, but not before they reached massive amounts of people.
The popular platform’s methods for confining and censoring users include demonetization (limiting or ridding of sponsorship, and thus revenue), implementation of “Restricted Mode,” and full suspension, a less-common tactic.
YouTube receives assistance in its content policing efforts from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a left-wing nonprofit, according to The Daily Caller. The SPLC has been scrutinized heavily in recent months after it labeled some innocuous and legitimate conservative organizations as “hate groups.”
Prager University (PragerU), a conservative organization that creates educational videos, is suing Google and YouTube for allegedly discriminating against it, citing its fairly moderate ideological slant. The digital media nonprofit is accusing the tech giant of both demonetizing its videos and placing others under Restricted Mode, which can shut it off from thousands of potential viewers.
But while a YouTube spokeswoman said that there were likely some misapplications of rules that resulted in “mistaken removals,” adding that the company will reinstate any videos that were taken down in error, the tech representative also said that they’re “continuing to enforce our existing policies regarding harmful and dangerous content, they have not changed.”
After months of back and forth, PragerU was eventually told that its account restrictions were not part of a miscalculation and were purposefully executed by its content moderation team.
Overall, YouTube’s conceded missteps may fuel organizations like PragerU that have long accused Google of being biased against conservatives and that end of the political spectrum. Its attempts seem to show that it wants to take on more responsibility in a voluntary manner, possibly because the federal government is pushing ahead with prospectives laws that would make such companies legally liable for users’ content.
The post has been updated to reflect YouTube providing the comments to The Daily Caller News Foundation.
This report, by Eric Lieberman, was cross posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.