Klavan On The Culture

YouTube Censors Video on Censors

From the Wall Street Journal:

 We told you recently about YouTube’s restrictions on PragerU’s free educational videos on grounds that they are “potentially objectionable.” Google’s YouTube site responded last week by extending that censorship to one of our writers.

Columnist Kimberley Strassel debuted a PragerU lecture on Thursday under the title “The Dark Art of Political Intimidation.” It’s a discourse on the First Amendment and the tactics that progressives are using to limit speech and political engagement by conservatives. Within several hours of PragerU posting the video, YouTube placed it in “restricted mode,” making it inaccessible to schools, libraries and young Americans whose parents have enabled YouTube technology filters.

YouTube was proving Ms. Strassel’s point by censoring a video on free speech. Conservative radio host Dennis Prager started PragerU in part to provide younger Americans with viewpoints that they might not find in the liberal educational establishment. PragerU’s more than 100 videos—each a short lecture delivered by a guest—avoid foul language, violent images or indecency. YouTube has nonetheless restricted 18 of them, on topics from policing to university diversity to the Korean War.

YouTube responded to our query about all this on Friday with its stock line that its restricted mode is something that “a tiny subset of users” choose to opt-into, and that the video restrictions are decided by an “algorithm” that factors in “community flagging” and “sensitive content.” Apparently, the Bill of Rights is highly sensitive. But, lo, over the weekend we noticed that YouTube had lifted the restriction on Ms. Strassel’s video.