New study further debunks “far-right” rabbit hole YouTube narrative

YouTube uses algorithms to suggest videos depending on what you watch. There have been many stories about how YouTube’s recommendation algorithms have “radicalized” people by populating their viewings with a specific subject, particularly when the subjects are “conspiracy theories.”

Yet, these accusations have been accused of being a “conspiracy theory” themselves as several studies have debunked such claims.

A new study published Monday further suggests that video recommendations on YouTube do not radicalize people.

The study focused on whether the alleged radicalization is anecdotal or represented an undeniable trend. The results of the study do not rule out the existence of radicalization through social media. However, it does strongly suggest that this radicalization is not at all common.

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YouTube suspends Sky News Australia in brazen and “disturbing” censorship

Sky News Australia, one of Australia’s most popular broadcasters, has been suspended from posting new content to YouTube for a week due to a supposed violation of YouTube’s guidelines on the spread of COVID-19 “misinformation.”

YouTube does not allow any video that conflicts with local health authorities or the World Health Organization’s (WHO) medical advice, although it does appear to be depending on who the “offender” is as to whether YouTube censors a video or channel.

Violations on YouTube are subject to a “three strikes” policy, with the first resulting in a one-week suspension, a second strike within 90 days leading to a two-week ban, and a third strike resulting in permanent removal from the site.

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YouTube complies with CNN copyright claim, censors leaked footage

YouTube has removed a recent video from investigative reporting outlet Project Veritas that featured leaked clips from an unreleased CNN documentary where Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez discusses her experience of the January 6 storming of the US Capitol with CNN anchor Dana Bash.

In the clips, Ocasio-Cortez agreed with Bash’s assertion that she thought she was going to be raped and killed during the events of January 6. She also claimed that “misogyny” and “racism” “animated that attack on the Capitol,” that “white supremacy and patriarchy are very linked in a lot of ways” and that “there’s a lot of sexualizing of that violence.”

Project Veritas criticized Bash’s questioning style, and noted that Ocasio-Cortez was not in the Capitol building when some of the CNN footage in the documentary was taped.

As with many of Project Veritas’ videos, this video featuring clips from the leaked CNN documentary was an instant hit and racked up tens of thousands of views in its first few hours.

But a few hours after it went live, YouTube blocked it after a copyright claim from “Turner CNN.”

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YouTube censors New Jersey Senate hearing about kids’ mask mandates

As YouTube continues to censor a wide array of topics, not least those around the Covid pandemic, so it’s independent competitors like Rumble continue to attract more creators.

The trend was unbroken last week when Google’s video giant censored a video showing a New Jersey Senate hearing on the topic of forcing school children to wear masks, which concluded the policy may be harmful.

New Jersey-based talk show host and former chair of the College Republican National Committee Bill Spadea announced this, accusing the Democratic majority in the state’s capital, Trenton, of shunning the official event, and YouTube of eventually “not liking” the content of the discussion, and for that reason removing the video.

However, as Spadea explained, the video can still be found on his new channel on Rumble.

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YouTube reverses censorship of journalist Alison Morrow who highlighted YouTube pro-corporate media bias

YouTube censored and suspended the channel of independent journalist Alison Morrow after she posted a video highlighting several examples of the mainstream media violating the “medical misinformation” rules that are regularly used by the tech giant to punish independent creators on the platform.

After facing mounting backlash over the decision, YouTube reinstated the video.

In the now reinstated video, which is titled “Corporate news can break YouTube’s rules” and features Matt Orfalea (an independent video producer who was recently censored by YouTube for highlighting YouTube censorship), Morrow highlighted two examples of corporate news channels violating YouTube’s medical misinformation policy.

The first example showed a February 2020 clip from the NBC News YouTube channel where one of the presenters states: “Experts caution, masks are not always the answer.” Another presenter states: “If you’re sick or somebody in the family’s sick, then doctors say the mask is an effective way to prevent that virus from spreading, but in a public place, not so much.”

The second example showed a March 2020 clip from the CNN YouTube channel where its Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta discusses the coronavirus and says “there’s some solace in this idea that the vast majority of people aren’t going to get sick from this” and “this is reminding people, I think a little bit, of, of, just flu in general.”

Morrow noted that both of these corporate news clips violate YouTube’s current medical “misinformation” policy but have not been removed with the first clip violating the rule that prohibits claims “claims that masks do not play a role in preventing the contraction or transmission of COVID-19” and the second clip violating the rule that prohibits “claims that the symptoms, death rates, or contagiousness of COVID-19 are less severe or equally as severe as the common cold or seasonal flu.”

She also emphasized that YouTube’s medical misinformation policy is antithetical to the purpose of both science and journalism:

“How is science not always going to be medical misinformation, if science is the very practice of discovering new things? It’s just impossible to do science on YouTube or journalism for that matter. You can’t really do journalism on YouTube unless you’re a corporate entity because obviously journalism is also about questioning narratives and proposing new ideas and you can’t do that if the community guidelines are all about protecting the status quo.”

Morrow then suggested that the purpose of YouTube’s medical misinformation policy is to create “a cast of safe characters that are basically part of the same corporate class as YouTube” and notes that “you could even be saying the exact same thing the corporate news is saying” and still “face the consequences that they are not going to face.”

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YouTube caught auto-censoring some comments that criticize China’s propaganda pushers (again)

Last year, YouTube was caught auto-censoring several phrases that criticized “wumao” (五毛) – a phrase describing the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) internet propaganda division the “50 Cent Army” which is a reference to members of this propaganda division reportedly being paid 50 cents per post.

YouTube responded by claiming “this was an error in our enforcement systems and we are working to fix it as quickly as possible.”

Now, just over a year later, Oculus and Anduril founder Palmer Luckey has reported that YouTube was again censoring a phrase that criticized wumao for influencing YouTube censorship operations.

Reclaim The Net tested this phrase in the YouTube comments section and it was briefly auto-censored within seconds of being posted.

However, after YouTube was questioned about the practice and after Luckey retweeted a post from another Twitter user who tagged Congressman Jim Banks and shared their experience of the word “Wumao” being censored in the YouTube comments section, YouTube appeared to reverse the censorship.

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Over 70 Percent of YouTube Videos Viewers Deemed Objectionable Were Recommended by YouTube’s Own Algorithm

A new study by software nonprofit Mozilla Foundation found that 71 percent of videos study participants deemed objectionable were suggested to them by YouTube’s own recommendation algorithm.

“Research volunteers encountered a range of regrettable videos, reporting everything from COVID fear-mongering to political misinformation to wildly inappropriate “children’s” cartoons,” Mozilla Foundation wrote in a post.

The largest-ever crowdsourced probe into YouTube’s controversial recommendation algorithm found that the automated software continues to recommend videos viewers considered “disturbing and hateful,” Mozilla said, including ones that violate YouTube’s own content policies.

The study involved nearly 38,000 YouTube users across 91 countries who volunteered data to Mozilla about the “regrettable experiences” they have had on the world’s most popular video content platform. Overall, participants flagged 3,362 regrettable videos between July 2020 and May 2021, with the most frequent “regret” categories being misinformation, violent or graphic content, hate speech, and spam/scams.

Mozilla said that almost 200 videos that YouTube’s algorithm recommended to volunteers have since been removed from the platform, including several that YouTube deemed violated their own policies.

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An Ugly War Among Leftist YouTubers Shows Two Common, Toxic Pathologies Plaguing U.S. Politics

An incredibly vicious and protracted war is being waged, seemingly with no end in sight, among numerous prominent liberal and left-wing commentators who work primarily on YouTube. The conflict erupted on May 26 when Cenk Uygur — the founder and long-time host of The Young Turks, the largest liberal-left YouTube platform — baselessly and falsely accused independent journalist Aaron Maté of being “paid by the Russians,” while his co-host, Ana Kasparian, spouted innuendo that Maté was “working for” unnamed dictators.

Maté is one of the very few left-wing journalists who reported skeptically on Russiagate and who questioned the U.S. Government’s narrative about the civil war in Syria, including by traveling to war-torn parts of that country to do so. He won the 2019 Park Center for Independent Media’s Izzy Award for his work debunking Russiagate. Yet with a one-minute rant from their insulated studio, Uygur baselessly branded Maté as someone who is “paid by the Russians” while Kasparian asserted that he “seemed” to be working for Assad and other dictators — a potentially reputation-destroying smear for a journalist and one that can be quite dangerous for a reporter who, like Maté, works on the ground in war zones.

The conflict engendered by those grotesque fabrications escalated significantly when Kasparian sent a private Twitter message to one of Maté’s defenders, Jimmy Dore, in which she threatened to accuse Dore of #MeToo-type sexual harassment from when they worked together seven years earlier. Kasparian made clear that her intent to publicly vilify Dore as a sexual harasser would serve as punishment for his criticisms of The Young Turks. Dore then revealed Kasparian’s threat on his program, and days later, Kasparian made good on her threat by accusing Dore of sexual harassment back in 2014.

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A Case of “Intellectual Capture?” On YouTube’s Demonetization Of Bret Weinstein

Just under three years ago, Infowars anchor Alex Jones was tossed off Facebook, Apple, YouTube, and Spotify, marking the unofficial launch of the “content moderation” era. The censorship envelope has since widened dramatically via a series of high-profile incidents: Facebook and Twitter suppressing the Hunter Biden laptop story, Donald Trump’s social media suspension, Apple and Amazon’s kneecapping of Parler, the removal of real raw footage from the January 6th riots, and others.

This week’s decision by YouTube to demonetize podcaster Bret Weinstein belongs on that list, and has a case to be to be put at or near the top, representing a different and perhaps more unnerving speech conundrum than those other episodes.

Profiled in this space two weeks ago, Weinstein and his wife Heather Heying — both biologists — host the podcast DarkHorse, which by any measure is among the more successful independent media operations in the country. They have two YouTube channels, a main channel featuring whole episodes and livestreams, and a “clips” channel featuring excerpts from those shows.

Between the two channels, they’ve been flagged 11 times in the last month or so. Specifically, YouTube has honed in on two areas of discussion it believes promote “medical misinformation.” The first is the potential efficacy of the repurposed drug ivermectin as a Covid-19 treatment. The second is the third rail of third rails, i.e. the possible shortcomings of the mRNA vaccines produced by companies like Moderna and Pfizer.

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YouTube removes videos exposing China’s abuse of Uyghurs, citing policy violation

A human rights group that gained popularity on YouTube largely because of its videos exposing China’s human rights abuses against the Uyghur Muslims had several of its videos removed from the platform, with YouTube citing unrelated policy violations, according to a report. 

Reuters reported that the YouTube channel Atajurt Kazakh Human Rights, which is based in Kazakhstan, also had its channel temporarily blocked by YouTube. The activist who runs the channel, Serikzhan Bilash, has been called a “well-known rights activist” by the group Human Rights Watch.

According to Reuters, 12 of Bilash’s videos were removed this year by YouTube amid an apparent campaign by groups who deny China is committing genocide to mass-report the Atajurt Kazakh Human Rights videos. The channel was completely blocked this month and only restored after inquiries from Reuters.

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