New YouTube CEO Neal Mohan Supports Censoring “Misinformation”
On February 16, 2023, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced that she would be leaving her position and YouTube’s Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan would assume the position. As Tom Parker of Reclaim the Net observed, Wojicki’s tenure — from February 5, 2014 until February 16, 2023 — was marked by the imposition of “‘hate speech’ and ‘harassment’ rules, restricting creators that produce content that’s ‘made for kids’, and hiding public dislikes.” In addition, Wojcicki made many public remarks supporting the censorship of creators based on the flimsy premise of “misinformation.”
Mohan started working for Google in 2007 and later assumed the of YouTube’s Chief Product Officer in November 2015.
The Chief Product Officer presides over product matters and is usually tasked with product strategy and product vision. Per Wojcicki, Mohan led YouTube’s Trust and Safety team — the team that is in charge of censoring content and setting up censorship policies.
Mohan had a habit of promoting and supporting controversial YouTube policies while Wojcicki served as CEO.
On top of that, he routinely supported YouTube’s policy of artificially boosting so-called “authoritative” sources instead of the independent creators made the platform world famous.
Parker listed off some of Mohan’s biggest censorship offenses:
Mohan made one of his most infamous statements on this topic in 2020 when he said creators “espousing” opinions “in their basement” can’t provide context on the news. Mohan used this basement analogy to justify the importance of boosting “authoritative voices.”
Mohan also announced YouTube’s decision to retroactively delete several videos from comedian Steven Crowder because they violated this new harassment policy, despite the videos being compliant with YouTube rules when they were uploaded. At the time, the practice of retroactive enforcement was rare on YouTube but since this announcement, it has become increasingly common.
In 2020, Mohan announced several censorship initiatives including an “Intelligence Desk” that targets emerging “conspiracy theories” and a ban on videos that “might” encourage people to ignore stay-at-home advice. He also confirmed that YouTube’s strict coronavirus misinformation policy would apply to the comments section.
In 2022, Mohan discussed Youtube’s efforts to censor “new misinformation” preemptively and highlighted YouTube’s “unprecedented action” when deleting over 70,000 Ukraine war videos. He also described censorship of Russian disinformation as “a constant ongoing endeavor.”
Mohan assuming the role of YouTube CEO just ensures that censorship will continue to be the norm at this company. Big tech companies such as YouTube must ultimately be reined in if we want any semblance of free speech to exist on the Internet.