Nearly one year ago, several YouTube content creators and journalists came out saying the organization had started to drop certain videos from its monetized listings. Many complained that, while the company has the right to change its policy or act on it as it sees fit, many of the videos that had been “de-monetized” were about political subjects. Most specifically, these videos were critical of the government.
Now, former congressman Ron Paul is suffering the same type of scrutiny, with several of his “Ron Paul Liberty Report” videos being de-monetized overnight.
In a tweet, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange shared a screenshot of Paul’s YouTube account depicting the videos that had been flagged as unfit for monetization, showing that in most cases, the former presidential candidate discussed Afghanistan, Wikileaks, and the U.S. government financing terrorists abroad while pretending to fight them.
— Defend Assange Campaign (@DefendAssange) August 26, 2017
Calling it “economic censorship,” Assange suggested this behavior showed YouTube may not like content creators who criticize U.S. foreign policy or who mention Wikileaks.
Much like the complaints dating back to 2016, YouTubers seem to find that every other one of their political videos, even the popular ones, are targeted.
As a private organization, YouTube has the right to revoke monetization privileges from users. But it’s always worth to take a look at the current environment to try to understand why such companies would be targeting this or that political group. It’s also worth to look at the company’s politics to determine whether they favor certain narratives over others.
In YouTube’s case, it’s easy to see what kind of policies they fancy.
Owned by Alphabet Inc., the company behind Google, YouTube has a virtual monopoly over video production online. YouTube’s CEO, Susan Wojcicki, one of the many executives in Silicon Valley who endorsed Hillary Clinton for president in 2016, may not like government critics.
Because of her support for the Democratic ticket, one may speculate she isn’t into criticism of certain foreign policies not because her candidate turned out to be president, but because President Donald Trump ended up enacting certain foreign policies regarding Afghanistan that would have made Clinton proud.
But the YouTube CEO isn’t to blame for the toxic and hostile culture that has been driving so many out of Silicon Valley lately alone. She is an example of what has become the acceptable norm.
Facebook, Twitter, and Google have all been strongly criticized for sometimes shunning debate in their pages, whether by censoring news stories critical of their political allies or by blocking accounts sharing content seen as offensive.
Now, PayPal and other financial institutions that became popular in the internet age are also cutting off companies or organizations being accused of spewing divisive rhetoric.
But in the aftermath of Google’s firing of engineer James Damore over a memo criticizing the company’s diversity efforts, entrepreneurs who are betting on free speech and free speech only got a huge boost in their fundraising efforts.
Seeing a niche that has been marginalized and pushed to the shadows, the creators of Gab are betting on developing a social media platform that does not sensor. In other words, they developed the private market response to the ongoing blacklisting efforts that are so common online.
But to get to this point, companies like Facebook, YouTube, and others must have reached a wall. After all, even after so much hard work to maintain such a close relationship with Washington, D.C., these organizations are still not able to keep all competitors at bay. And as YouTube censors content creators like Paul, firms like Gab are starting to cash in.
So the lesson companies like YouTube, Twitter, or Facebook should learn from keeping antiwar free marketers and anarchists, radical leftists, Trump supporters, Austrian economists, offensive personalities, bigots, and yes, even terrorist sympathizers of all kinds from having access to social media is that the only ones hurting from being kept from the exposure are the everyday consumers. They are the ones who will either become radicalized by being driven into the shadows or who will simply take their business elsewhere.
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BACK TO WORK: Ford Motors Announces They Intend to Begin Reopening Plants on Apr. 6
Ford does not want to suspend production for months because of coronavirus.
Ford Motor Co. announced on Thursday that they intend to begin reopening some of their plants on Apr. 6, as the iconic automaker hopes that the coronavirus pandemic will not sideline their business for long.
Ford said last week that they would be suspending all production at their facilities indefinitely. They made the decision along with General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles with union workers spooked because of potential exposure to the coronavirus.
While Ford wants to resume their operations as quickly as possible, their plans are not written in stone. They could re-evaluate their time frame if the coronavirus pandemic worsens over the next ten days.
“We will continue to assess public health conditions as well as supplier readiness and will adjust plans if necessary,” Kumar Galhotra, Ford’s president of North America, said in a statement.
GM and Chrysler have not issued any possible schedule for resuming operations at the present time. If all goes according to plan, Ford will re-open the Hermosillo Assembly Plant on Apr. 6 for one shift. It would then open many more facilities across the country on Apr. 14.
The other corporate titans of Motor City may be skittish about reopening because of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s draconian restrictions on industry. Whitmer has issued an edict forcing all supposedly non-essential businesses to shutter until Apr. 13.
“The current trajectory we’re on seems a lot like Italy,” Whitmer said earlier this week. “We’ve got to do everything in our power to keep that from happening in Michigan.”
“This is an unprecedented crisis that requires all of us working together to protect our families and our communities,” she added. “The most effective way we can slow down the virus is to stay home. I know this will be hard, but it will be temporary. If we all come together, get serious, and do our part by staying home, we can stay safe and save lives.”
While public officials like Whitmer may have the best of intentions, their forced shut-down of the economy may cause more lasting damage to the country than the coronavirus ever could.
“The situation is fluid and can change week to week,” said Jim Cain, a spokesman for GM. “We don’t have firm return-to-work dates at this time.”
Americans are desperate to go back to work as the social safety net is strained like never before during these trying times. A dubious record was set for jobless claims filed in March, with three million Americans filing for unemployment benefits. President Trump hopes to have the country back on track by the Easter holiday.
“I think there are certain people that would like it not to open so quickly,” Trump said on Wednesday. “I think there are certain people that would like [the economy] to do financially poorly, because they think that would be very good as far as defeating me at the polls.”
He added: “I’m not going to do anything rash or hastily — I don’t do that. But the country wants to get back to work.”
It will not be easy for President Trump to pull the nation out of the grip of media-driven mass hysteria that has resulted from the coronavirus pandemic.
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