Several independent progressive media personalities spoke out recently claiming their YouTube accounts were arbitrarily censored by the video platform for publishing or covering content deemed "harmful."
Independent journalist Caitlin Johnstone first reported on the news, further advancing speculation that the Google-owned video company is engaging in a widespread content crackdown.
Johnstone wrote in a blog post Wednesday that "progressive commentators Graham Elwood, The Progressive Soapbox, The Convo Couch, Franc Analysis, Hannah Reloaded and Cyberdemon531 have all received notifications from YouTube that their videos are no longer permitted to earn money through the platform's various monetization features, as has Ford Fischer, a respected freelancer who films US political demonstrations."
BREAKING: After me spending the last week criticizing @TeamYouTube's takedown of my raw footage from January 6, the… https://t.co/N1FpCNqzTe— Ford Fischer (@Ford Fischer)1612382324.0
For years, conservative content creators on the platform have complained — and sued — after being suddenly demonetized without explanation, and now YouTube appears to be unleashing a similar censorship tactic on independent media figures with differing political views.
Johnstone called the news "a jarring escalation in the steadily intensifying campaign against alternative news outlets online."
TheBlaze reached out to Google to request comment about the news but did not receive a response in time for publication.
Judged by the media figures' Twitter posts regarding the censorship, most seemed to have received the same opaque email notice from YouTube, informing them that their channel "is not in line with our YouTube Partner Program policies" and thus "is not eligible to monetize" or access any "monetization tools and features."
The email then directed them to their accounts monetization page where they could view the "specific" policy that was flagged by specialists. Only the policy on display on that page was anything but specific. It simply reads that the account was demonetized for "harmful content," or "content that focuses on controversial issues and that is harmful to viewers."
The accounts were then instructed to make edits or remove altogether the content that caused the channel to be flagged. But, according to the complaints of some of the media figures, YouTube never indicated specifically which content on the channel caused it to be flagged.
Btw, @TeamYouTube what exactly was I demonetized for? It says harmful content but I debunk conspiracy theories and… https://t.co/PXx9hMuOHT— Hannah Reloaded (@Hannah Reloaded)1612384498.0
On its support website, Google outlines its "harmful and dangerous content policy" by listing the types of content that would be subject to removal from YouTube. Included on the list are videos about dangerous challenges, pranks, drug use, violent events, and more.
The list is rather exhaustive and YouTube even advises users to "keep in mind that this isn't a complete list," perhaps giving the company a variety of avenues by which it can pursue censorship should it desire to.