Google-owned YouTube recently shadowbanned PewDiePie, according to his fans. If true, it would represent the latest act of censorship by a Big Tech company.
PewDiePie, for those who are unfamiliar, hosts YouTube’s second-largest channel. He has accumulated over 107 million subscribers in his ten years on the platform. He is extraordinarily popular but also receives flak from some quarters because he can be politically incorrect at times.
YouTube addressed the allegation that they shadowbanned PewDiePie in a tweet today:
— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) October 22, 2020
The denial naturally did not convince PewDiePie’s fans, many of whom said that they weren’t receiving notifications of his new videos and couldn’t find hundreds of previous videos after using the search function:
— KEEM 🍿 (@KEEMSTAR) October 22, 2020
The issue seemed to be resolved as of Friday. Still, how many times do we have to go through this with Big Tech platforms like YouTube and Twitter and Facebook? The cycle is utterly predictable: massive account shadowbanned or suspended, platform denies any blatant censorship, account privileges restored.
PewDiePie’s real name is Felix Kjellberg. Big League Politics last posted about him when he announced a $50,000 donation to the anti-free speech Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and then again when he rescinded it:
“Usually when I pick a charity, I take my time, I find a charity that I’m really excited about and actually passionate to donate to, so when I uploaded the video talking about the charity, it was very brief, and people could tell something was off,” PewDiePie explained while laughing.
“To be fair, I saw it as an opportunity to put an end to these alt-right claims that have been thrown against me. It wasn’t to try and clear my name or save grace. If it was, I would have done it years ago, but after the Christchurch tragedy, I felt a responsibility to do something about it because it’s no longer just about me. It affected other people in a way, and I’m not okay with that,” PewDiePie said explaining his motives.
PewDiePie said that he announced the ADL donation with noble intentions, but the backlash from his fans helped him to see the error of his ways.
“I’ve struggled to figure out how to do that, but this was not the right way to go about it,” PewDiePie said. “I knew it wasn’t perfect, but I also didn’t know a lot of things that surfaced throughout this whole thing about the charity that doesn’t fit at all, so I understand why people had concerns about it, and these are things that I would have known myself if I had just taken my time.”
YOUR NEW MASTER: Twitter’s Head of Conversational Safety, a “Young, Queer Asian-American Businesswoman,” is “Rethinking” the Concept of User Safety
Do you trust someone like her to make Twitter “a safer place”?
The media company Protocol, a sister site of Politico, recently published an article about Twitter’s new “head of product for conversational safety,” Christine Su. It claims that Su, a “young, queer Asian-American businesswoman,” is revolutionizing what “user safety” on social media means.
Twitter hired Su around six months ago to be in charge of “what might be the most difficult task on Twitter,” despite having no apparent experience in politics, programming, and media relations. But Twitter seems to like her for her “creative” and “somewhat radical new ideas” about user safety.
“As a queer woman of color who is an Asian American in tech in rural America, that experience is a very intersectional one. I’ve had plenty of experiences moving through spaces where I wanted more safety,” Su said.
Protocol writes that Su’s vision incorporates “transformative and procedural justice.” Transformative justice ostensibly refers to a non-retributive form of repairing harm done to someone and preventing it from happening again; procedural justice to enacting a set of rules that “make harm rarer in the first place.”
This all sounds nice and dandy—but beware. So-called transformative and procedural justice will not benefit you, but will crush you. Anything that’s perceived as “harmful” against “women and people from marginalized groups” can and will be used to censor you. Christine Su may reassuringly claim that “the point is not to make the entire world a safe space,” but she’s open about the fact that she will help give the Coalition of the Fringes more control over what people are allowed to do and say on Twitter.
Examples from the article:
- Creating an audio hangout feature called “Spaces,” which will allow users to determine who is allowed to participate, as well as who can speak and when. (Note that it’s being tested on “women and marginalized groups of people” first.)
- Potentially doubling down on functions that “encourage people to read content before reposting it.” (Which is exclusively done to censor or limit the reach of conservative and other right-wing content.)
- Building tools that “create private pathways for apologies, forgiveness and deescalation.” (The finer details are still a work in progress according to Su.)
- Defining what a “meaningful conversation” is. (Would people like Su think that anything right-wingers say or believe belongs in a “meaningful conversation”? Let’s just say I wouldn’t bet money on it…)
You know full well that a company like Facebook would shortly follow suit. After all, it’s not just Twitter that Su is “revolutionizing,” but the concept of social media itself. Figure out where all this is heading.
Now is as good a time as ever to plug our Parler:
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