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"Third, we will be taking a tougher stance on videos that do not clearly violate our policies — for example, videos that contain inflammatory religious or supremacist content. In future these will appear behind an interstitial warning and they will not be monetised, recommended or eligible for comments or user endorsements. That means these videos will have less engagement and be harder to find. We think this strikes the right balance between free expression and access to information without promoting extremely offensive viewpoints."

I cannot help but think that this will not be applied evenly - that some political content will be allowed and some will not.




Aha, so big US companies are our police now.

I share your fear. The "kosher" content would be now defined by some faceless person in NY/SF.


Now? Give me a fucking break.

Big US companies, and all US companies, big and small, have always choosen, and very carefully, what sorts of content they want to distribute, what sorts of image they want to portray, what sorts of causes they want to publicly support, and what their public imagine will be. You were never able to find atheist content in a Christian bookstore, you could only buy the censored version of CDs from Walmart, you couldn't find pornography at K-Mart, The Disney Channel never broadcasted any politically incorrect material, and you couldn't buy t-shirts with "inflammatory religious or supremacist content" in Old Navy. Even the original Geocities had strong content restrictions​.

Are you loudly complaining Old Navy doesn't sell a "Hitler was right" shirt? Are you complaining about the "censorship" going on at the Museum of Fine Arts since they don't have a white supremacist exhibit?

In fact, pornography is legal and YouTube does not allow pornography. Why aren't you already up in arms about that "censorship."


>Are you loudly complaining Old Navy doesn't sell a "Hitler was right" shirt? Are you complaining about the "censorship" going on at the Museum of Fine Arts since they don't have a white supremacist exhibit?

Facebook is not Old Navy (one of thousands of competing clothing stores), it's a ubiquitous service with over a billion people in it, almost everybody on the internet.

Like Google, it's more of a basic internet service than a mere website. And its content (and content policies) are a factor in political discourse, both in the US and outside of it.

Secondly, to restrict the discussion to examples that your audience will clearly dislike ("Hitler was right", "white supremacist exhibit") is misleading, because the problem is with items that are not that clear cut but will be censored anyway.

E.g. "Iraq doesn't have WMDs", "CIA is involved in drug trafficking", "US supports death squads in Latin America", "Dodge the Vietnam draft" and so on -- to limit the examples to such items from the past. What would a mainstream company who "censors" stuff allow from those back in the day when they were hot issues?

Or let's take it to today, how about pro/anti-Trump, or pro-anti Assad, or pro-anti Black Lives Matter, pro-anti Manning, pro-anti Assange, etc?

Even stuff that the majority in the US might disagree with, the majority in another culture/country might legitimately agree (and not want it censored) -- but they'd have no say. A single country (and one from which many countries have scars from) will control a large part of the internet discussions (through Facebook, and similar policies in Google, etc) of other countries.


>"Iraq doesn't have WMDs"

Why it's censored? And, btw, Iraq _did_ had WMDs.


No, they didn't.

Except in a huge stretch of the notion, that doesn't justify invasion, war, hundreds of thousands dying, and trillion spent -- some degraded barrels of mustard gas and the like from 30+ years ago, the era of Iran-Iraq war...


They aren't installing a filter into the browser they're OPENLY addressing a problematic issue on YouTube, one of many, many video hosting websites. Nothing stops a terrorist from getting a computer, an internet connection, and hosting his own damn video calling for the murder of women and children.

When you call for violence against non-combatants you're breaking the law in every single western country. If there were only one web browser and the company behind it were implementing universal blocking measures maybe I'd agree with you, but honestly I'd have to think long and hard first. Radicalisation is impossible to survive in the long run as the average power an average individual keeps going up.


They didn't say they were going to start removing videos with illegal content, they already do that. They said that they were going to start removing videos that don't break any rules, yet the company deems them unsavory. Which is incredibly frustrating since 1) YT has become the center of our changing culture, and 2) not everyone lines up with the PC Californian culture that dominates large multinational corporations.


They didn't say they would remove the videos, instead they will display an "interstitial warning and they will not be monetised, recommended or eligible for comments or user endorsements." Which is not even on the level of a shadow ban, as practiced e.g. on HN.


I wonder what effect Google's wagging finger and implied scolding from an interstitial will have on people who stumble across a video they like but is branded as naughty.

I find it an interesting question because:

A) Not every video branded as culturally unacceptable will be. Not every video is as bad as the worst-case hypothetical used to justify the content classification.

The landscape of cultural attitudes differ from California-based content minders. The categorization can be flat out wrong, there will undoubtedly be a small percentage of videos that even the minders see as mis-classified.

B) Social interventionist policies can - and often do - backfire.

e.g.: Teens that deliberately seek out taboo. The allure of R movies, M games, Explicit Lyrics, and underage binge drinking can cause them to live a period of their life less well-adjusted than if that content wasn't aggressively filtered from their lives in the first place.


If they do that, they might as well remove the videos, since they have the same goal in mind. Look at the quarantined subreddits on Reddit. While the company gets to say it allows free speech, it basically removed those subreddits from existence, thus successfully​ controlling the narrative. Do we really want large corporations to intentionally guide the direction of our culture? Personally, I don't. In the end, a corporation would guide it in a direction that favors itself and its donors.


Where does that say they're removing them?


Murder sure; however, it said this:

>videos that contain inflammatory religious or supremacist content

It's very easy to claim content is inflammatory or supremacist . This will be highly subjective, which is the problem.

I personally know people here in the bay area that would have no problem labelling lots of campaign talk by Trump with those tags.


> This will be highly subjective, which is the problem

also they have to determine these norms for the whole planet (without North Korea), now every attempt so far that tried to set cultural norms for the whole world has failed, lets see if they do better.


i think that once upon a time facebook and google wouldn't do such things for fear of loosing customers to the competition, now its different: they got us hooked and now they are behaving as if they were a real government. This consolidation around 'platforms' and lack of competition is not good for the internet.


OMG a multinational doesn't share my precise political bias


>When you call for violence against non-combatants you're breaking the law in every single western country.

That's not entirely true. Abstract advocacy of illegal violence is protected speech under Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444 (1969). Only when the incited violence is imminent (as opposed to at some indefinite future time) does the speech fall outside the bounds of the First Amendment.


Or more likely a minimum wage drone in a third world country


Don't worry, once their opinion is enshrined in a neural net somewhere, they'll no longer be in charge. Then it will just be a cold metallic box that will silently, and efficiently judge you.


The definitions won't be outsourced, but the psychological trauma involved in doing the actual moderation certainly will be.


For example BPO for Google in Makati, Philippines through Skykes is an 25-30,000 PESO/month job for content moderator. $500-600.

And that's considered a good job if you're a filipino.

It's about half that in India.


By 'our police', do you mean 'actively curating their own content'? Do you call your local librarian a cop as well?


Do you call the local censor a "curator" too?

Besides, my local librarian doesn't decide what books the library will have (what's this, USSR?). They do the initial ordering management, but library members can request any book and have it ordered.

There's a mechanism for us curating our own content: we decide to which pages/friends we subscribe. How about that?


"Besides, my local librarian doesn't decide what books the library will have"

Um, of course they do.


Well, most libraries where I live/know have central boards / panels that decide those things -- not necessarily staffed by professional librarians (e.g. the state appoints members there from the academic community, etc., some are voted, etc.). There are also deals to get copy(ies) from each published work (by specific or all publishers).

Librarians do handle the organization and everyday operation, archiving projects, curated collections open to the public, etc.


> Besides, my local librarian doesn't decide what books the library will have

vs

> curated collections open to the public

What's the difference between Google removing a terrorist video from public view (they never delete anything), and a library having a book but the librarian not making it available to the public?

I mean, you rebut me when I say Google curates its own content, then turn around and say librarians are different, their duties include curating content.

Edit: How come people don't call Google some sort of evil censoring overlord when it comes to child pornography? You'll get the good ol' "I defend to the death your right to speak" when it comes to terrorist videos, but not child exploitation ones. Where are the people angrily demanding that google put child pornography back into their search results, out of a demand for freedom of speech for all? Why is that topic treated differently to terrorist recruitment videos?


>Where are the people angrily demanding that google put child pornography back into their search results, out of a demand for freedom of speech for all? Why is that topic treated differently to terrorist recruitment videos?

Because most people act irrationally when it comes to related issues, and because other people (still a minority) don't want to be branded negatively by hysterical public/pundits.

One might as well ask where were the vocal proponents of black rights in 1920 Alabama?


Responding to your edit, some people might disagree with child pornography laws&policies but recognize that any protest will be branded as supporting pedophiles/hurting children and decide that they'd rather die on a hill upon which they have a chance of winning.


Local librarian doesn't dictate culture and content to the whole world.


Give them a big enough Library and they would.


I have mixed feelings about this and I share your concern about it not being applied evenly.

I think what bothers me the most, though, is that we're too reliant on one company to be the gatekeeper to the vast majority of video content online. I'd feel better if there were more competitors in this space, and if YouTube was overly restrictive of certain content, you could just move to a different service and have a similar experience.

I can't really blame YouTube for being "too successful", but this is one of those cases where being a near-monopoly can put a company into an awkward position.


It won't be, because "inflammatory" (esp. juxtaposed to "religious"), and "supremacist" are subjective. Unpopular viewpoints, especially regarding religion and race, can easily be branded and thus squelched.


That's the status quo. One could argue nearly anything is political content, or art. They're announcing that they're going to draw the line differently, not that they're drawing a line for the first time.


There are Leftist movements in the US that are arguably just as violent as those on the alt-Right. What's the chance that these policies apply to both sides equally? Given the history, I'd say not much. And I don't think that's a good thing.

EDIT: Unless someone is saying that AntiFa ISN'T violent?


The recent controversies at Evergreen College provide an illustrative example. Videos of student protestors bullying professors, ala Maoist Cultural Revolution style, were taken down due to issues with "bullying".

It's worth noting that these were original videos uploaded to YT by the protestors themselves!


Also worth noting that the videos were probably taken down less for "bullying" and more because they made the protesters look horrible, too.


Make up your mind.

By your definition(s), YouTube can't possibly handle inflammatory leftist material.

If they don't remove it, they're clearly leftist biased.

If the do remove it, they're also clearly leftist biased, but for a different reason.

You can't have it both ways.


IMO, the entire situation with Evergreen College is closer to being an alt-Right propaganda piece than a leftist one. Screaming at and demanding the resignation of a professor essentially for saying that "On a college campus, one's right to speak - or to be - must never be based on skin color" looks pretty bad, you know? The fact it was produced by leftists who need a far better grasp of optics really doesn't change that.

Removing things that make one side look bad - but not similarly doing the same for the other side - is bias, yes. Unless you think YouTube would have removed videos taken by the protesters if the situation was reversed, and it was a neo-Nazi protest that was looking horrible?


Pardon me, but your view is ridiculous!

Or are you claiming that the people at Evergreen are all secret members of the Pepe Brotherhood and that they are not holding their leftist views honestly?


No, DuskStar is claiming that the people at Evergreen are leftist college students who did something stupid, and the thing they did makes leftists as a group look stupid. So other leftists are trying hard to hide the thing that was done, to avoid the PR fallout.

This was pretty clear in what DuskStar wrote. See the "the fact it was produced by leftists who need a far better grasp of optics" bit.


I don't think DuskStar was claiming it was a false-flag protest, just that it made the people doing it look bad.


Yep, exactly! Not entirely sure how people might think I was suggesting Evergreen's protests were a false flag, that really wasn't my intention.


What part of his view seems ridiculous to you?


The idea that hundreds of non-white alt-righters could gather at a college and all act like extremist liberals while not leaking the fact they're alt-righters is pretty absurd to me.


It's a good thing DuskStar said absolutely nothing like that, then, right?


It was implied when DuskStar said it was a right-wing propaganda piece. That implies that it was done intentionally to push a narrative.


He didn't say that. He said it was playing in the media the way a right-wing propaganda piece would have played, even though it wasn't one. I thought that was pretty clear, especially given the last sentence of his first paragraph.


> What's the chance ...?

How about doing some old-fashioned data gathering for the benefit of the community? Document all violent events, how many YouTube videos are posted of each, how many are removed and how long it takes for each to be pulled down.

Without data, it's just conspiracy theory.


Considering there are several hours of video uploaded to YouTube per second, this is nigh impossible for someone without Google-level resources.

And that's just the last two points of your comment. The first requires a nation state.


You could do a statistical sample or find some proxy variables.


So far, no they aren't. Not even close. Not that there isn't any violence from the left, but not nearly as much.

But using the left/right simplified political spectrum is a terrible metric in any case. If there was ever a time to at least use the compass metric to differentiate between authoritarian/libertarian opinions as well as left/right it is now. It can be hard to realize as an American but judged globally you are comparing far right authoritarians to centre or even centre-right authoritarians as if they were opposites.


>So far, no they aren't. Not even close. Not that there isn't any violence from the left, but not nearly as much.

This is based on information that is highly controlled by the companies which we were just discussing, right?


> Not that there isn't any violence from the left, but not nearly as much

Are you sure? I'd love to see credible sources for this data, for the US. Note that sources talking about "hate crimes" are unfortunately not usable here simply because they by definition exclude violence towards groups that violent left-wing groups target. I am aware that after this last election there was an upsurge in hate crimes; there was also an upsurge in violent attacks on Trump supporters. I have had little luck finding good numbers on what's going on, and would appreciate pointers.

Also, are we talking about recent history, or historically? Because again, for the US, there was a good deal of left-wing violence in the 70s that has been successfully whitewashed out of history. For example, some (but not all) of the leaders of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weather_Underground moved right on to positions like "Clinical Associate Professor of Law at the Children and Family Justice Center at Northwestern University School of Law"[1] and "communications director at Environmental Advocates of New York" (and for the same one, "heads up his own consulting firm called Jeff Jones Strategies that specializes in media expertise, writing, and campaign strategies that help grassroots and progressive groups achieve their goals")[2]. Going further down the list we have people becoming high school teachers and then academics specializing in education[3], and mathematics instructors [4].

At least as of 20 years ago, none of this was discussed in high school history classes that cover the period. Most people who didn't personally live through it aren't aware that any of this ever happened.

> or even centre-right authoritarians as if they were opposites

The centre-right authoritarians, by that definition, are not the ones involved in what would be considered "leftist violence" in the US.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernardine_Dohrn [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Jones_(activist) [3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Machtinger [4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Rudd


Oh definitely recent, historical would be different ... although you'd have to be very careful to pick your dates to include the blip of leftist violence and exclude say, the Klan. Not that you don't have a point about the lack of education about the leftist violence in the 70s, but the moral victors tend to write the history.

Sure, there was an uptick in attacks on Trump supporters. But you take all of those and I'll take only violence against muslims or trans people, your choice. Hell, if I took only violence against non-muslim brown people mistaken for muslims the numbers would still be higher.


> Hell, if I took only violence against non-muslim brown people mistaken for muslims the numbers would still be higher

Do you have a source for that? Because, again, I've had a _very_ hard time finding credible numbers for this stuff, and would love some actual data.


> What's the chance that these policies apply to both sides equally?

I would say there's a very good chance that it will


How do you figure?


Well most of the abuse is from the right, so most of the correct action will be towards the right. It won't be equal in terms of amount of action for a given side, but it will be equal in terms of blocking dodgy content.


>Well most of the abuse is from the right, so most of the correct action will be towards the right

That's a hell of an assumption. This subthread succinctly illustrates the problem at hand.


Well, you're assuming asymmetry with no evidence that it's particularly likely.


"... extremely offensive viewpoints."

I imagine it'll be a very fuzzy line that they draw.


Given that the costs will still be present but Google won't get any benefit for hosting these videos, how likely are they in the future to simply delete them?


You seem to simplify quite a lot. Costs should go down with videos not being recommended and thus less watched. Not excessively oppressing their users should be a benefit. Sure we could find more of both costs and benefits and I wouldn't be sure about the resulting score.

I also wonder how much it will cost to classify a video versus just hosting one of those average and barely viewed videos.


That's why we classically had the Supreme Court to deal with this stuff. Sadly it do not scale.


This is not a question of scale, it's a question of kind.

SCOTUS decisions scale just fine. It's called "stare decisis."

This is simply a new censor with less permissive and less stringent standards.


I feel it's next to impossible to apply this objectively


doesnt seem like they want to try to be anyway


> for example, videos that contain inflammatory religious or supremacist content.

Why does that trigger concerns for you about 'political content'?


This is not really new. Looking for "biases" that give better search results is kind of the point; it goes back to PageRank. (A preference for more popular content is going to rank less popular content lower.) Similarly for many other search ranking signals.


No judgement is not good judgement.


It's simply none at all, right?


Right, quite honestly I'd like to see them just make a mostly uncensored spinoff and set up censorship on vanilla youtube. Lax, uneven censorship gives you the worst of both worlds really.


already happening with alternative media. also, anti "hatespeech" laws are being passed while the term isnt even defined.

the establishment and left extremism figured out that the internet as the greatest platform for real free speech undermines their prerogativd of interpretation in the public.

this is a fight to control public opinion and we will lose it when we continue to be jelly fish.




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