Google and Facebook have been working to censor content for a while now, especially conservative content and content the mainstream media will not allow you to see or hear. Now, it’s looking like both companies, along with many others, might just face prosecution if they do not stop “extremist videos” from being seen on their sites.
The Telegraph reports:
Ministers are considering a new law which would mean Google – which owns YouTube – and other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter can be prosecuted if they allow such videos to be disseminated.
Theresa May, the Prime Minister, made clear her displeasure at internet companies that publish extremist content on Friday, saying “the ball is in their court” over taking action.
Google publicly apologised this week after the growing scandal over extremist videos on YouTube led to a series of companies pulling their adverts from the internet giant.
Google, which owns the video sharing website YouTube, and other social media sites have an agreement to take down extremist content within 24 hours when they are alerted to it.
But ministers are worried that this still allows the videos to be viewed thousands of times before they are taken down.
Understand the magnitude of such censorship. According to YouTube’s Company Statistics, there are 300 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute! With nearly 5 billion videos watched on YouTube every single day, if censorship is escalated, there is no doubt that it will be based on algorithms and will be a dragnet like the current system that snags videos that are not extremist in it.
Now, there are many things I’m concerned about here. First, let’s not become emotional about this ordeal. I do think both Google and Facebook have been hypocrites in their censorship. While their terms of service are riddled with things about “hate speech” and “violence” and “pornographic” content, they provide quite a bit of that in the ads they produce in their Adsense program. In fact, many people do not understand that when we advertise on our site, we specifically censor certain ads with Google. Yet, because all we have is a code, Google will let some ads through based on where the consumer has been on the internet that are risque, violent, sometimes actually hateful, and even pornographic.
So, now the companies are being targeted by government to do censoring, apparently on behalf of government. While I would agree that threatening videos, such as those produced by Islamists would be criminal in nature and that they should be reported, the fact is that government should be targeting the evil doer (the one that uploaded the video) rather than those providing a platform to upload.
After all, most of us have been banned, put in the cyber space corner over things that did not violate terms of service for both YouTube and Facebook. This was due to algorithms, and there was no one that would answer when we contested the ban.
On the one hand, I’m kind of glad to see these companies getting a taste of their own medicine. On the other hand, the reality is that now we are allowing government to determine what is “extremist.” Islamists following in the footsteps of Muhammad and cutting people’s heads off are not extremists, they are devout Islamists. However, when a Christian says sodomy is a sin, is that considered extremist? What about those who advocate for the life of the unborn against letting its mother and a hired hit man kill it for $200? Will that be extremist?
Frankly, I wonder if some of the videos that have been released by Islamists are not opening people’s eyes to the fact that Islam is not a religion of piece, but of pieces, terror and totalitarianism.
While I cannot speak for countries in Europe and throughout the world, in America, our Constitution is to protect free speech and does not allow Congress to write law that infringes upon that speech. Yet, we have seen the central government and even state governments seek to violate the law and protections of the rights of the people to push a totalitarian agenda. This is just the next move in the global chess game.