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YouTube puts bogus age restriction on Andrew Napolitano and James Bovard discussion challenging ‘insurrection’ narrative

By Adam Dick | Ron Paul Institute | January 20, 2022

YouTube or its owner Google sure seems keen on preventing people from learning about holes in the “insurrection” narrative being pushed by big money media and many politicians from President Joe Biden on down regarding protest and riot activity at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Legal commentator Andrew Napolitano, who is an Advisory Board member for the Ron Paul Institute, posted Tuesday at YouTube an episode of his show Judging Freedom titled “The FBI’s possible role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.” In the episode, Napolitano and journalist James Bovard discuss many apparent problems with the heavily pushed January 6 insurrection narrative. But, when you try on Thursday to watch the video at YouTube, you cannot just push play and watch as you can with most videos at YouTube. Instead, you are presented with a warning.

Where normally an image from the video with a play video button in the center would appear, the video screen is all black with over it at its center a circled exclamation point followed by this message:

Sign in to confirm your age

This video may be inappropriate for some users.

Click on the “SIGN IN” button below that message and you are taken to a page to sign in to your Google account, or to create a Google account if you do not have one, in order to watch the discussion.

Once you have done all this and YouTube seemingly has been satisfied that you are old enough, you are still not presented with the video ready to play. Instead, you encounter another all black video screen with a warning on it — again the circled exclamation point followed by “This video may be inappropriate for some users.” Below the warning is a button labeled “I UNDERSTAND AND WISH TO PROCEED.” Only after clicking on this button can you finally watch the video of Napolitano and Bovard’s discussion.

Of course, all the warnings, button clicks, age verification, and account sign in or creation requirements create a major impediment to people watching the video. Google and YouTube can say that they did not censor the video (at least for adults), but their imposing of special hurdles people must jump over to watch can be expected to much reduce viewership. Many adults will not trudge through all this. Children are barred from watching the video.

Should you go through all this and finally watch the video, you will see that the warnings and the action requirements that precede the video are without any justification, especially considering YouTube’s rather lenient approach generally to placing age restrictions on videos. So why all the effort to discourage people from watching? It sure looks like YouTube, or its owner Google, instead of trying to protect children from harm, is trying to protect the January 6 insurrection narrative from criticism.


Copyright © 2022 by RonPaul Institute.

January 21, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

YouTube reveals mass problem of false copyright claims

Millions of videos falsely flagged

By Didi Rankovic | Reclaim The Net | December 7, 2021

YouTube has published its latest transparency report – this being the first detailing the way the giant deals with copyright claims.

The big takeaway is that the copyright claims system is abused on a mass scale, as many observers believe it to be – 2.2 million videos have been targeted with fraudulent, or “incorrect” as YouTube put it, claims in the first half of this year alone, the report reveals.

Still, this is only a small fraction – under 1 percent – of overall copyright claims filed from January to June 2021, which amounted to a whopping 729 million. And 99 percent of those came from the automated and controversial Content ID system.

When creators decided to contest these bogus claims, their appeals were accepted in 60 percent of cases, YouTube claims, interpreting this number to mean that its copyright enforcement and appeals system represents “real recourse” and brushing off the long-standing, serious shortcomings as “no system being perfect.”

But creators who lose income thanks to false copyright strikes – when their content is blocked, muted, or stripped of ad revenue – are unlikely to be appeased by YouTube admitting to its faults and providing a glimpse into the numbers with the first of its kind copyright transparency report.

Despite being a massive platform and a financial juggernaut, YouTube is still failing to meet the goal set by CEO Susan Wojcicki all the way back in 2019, when she said the Google company was “exploring” how it might find “the right balance” between creators and copyright holders.

In the report, YouTube says that they have worked hard to assist the latter with even better tools to protect what they claimed as copyrighted content, while creators are being given tools and resources to help them “manage” their content.

YouTube also explains that there are three avenues they provide to copyright owners: the webform, which can be used by anyone and rarely results in takedown requests; the Copyright Match Tool available to more than 2 million channels hunting down reposted content; and finally, what YouTube calls its “award-winning” Content ID, which is responsible for 99% of all takedown requests – 722 million in the first six months of this year.

Content ID is geared towards serving “the most complicated rights management environments, like movie studios and music labels,” said YouTube.

December 8, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | | Leave a comment

Is YouTube Now Presuming to be in Charge of Science?

BY JEFFREY A. TUCKER | BROWNSTONE INSTITUTE | DECEMBER 2, 2021

Courts around the country are striking down vaccine mandates and even Covid restrictions in general. Protests against both have erupted the world over. There is a trend in which major names and faces that imposed lockdowns on the country are resigning from their positions and otherwise dropping out of politics. The Biden administration in general has sunk in the polls. The resistance to the entire regime of command and control that seized the world in March 2020 is growing by the day.

But none of this seems to matter to the dominant Internal portals of Google and YouTube, which Google owns. They occupy the number one and number two spots for global traffic and reach. That’s some serious power over what the majority of people read, see, hear, and believe. It’s true that critically thinking people have already shifted to DuckDuckGo, Rumble, and many other platforms, and their market share is growing, to be sure. But nothing can compare to the 75% market share of YouTube, or the 86% share of search controlled by Google.

Often individual users can develop a distorted sense of that whole based on their own browsing habits. You like Brownstone.org, for example, and you get great information from this site. It is easy to forget that its 4 million users seem nearly invisible compared with the traffic enjoyed by the larger sites. Being on the admin side, it is much easier to observe how a myth spread, for example, by CNN can reach tens of millions of people whereas its refutation on a small site might only reach a few thousand. The myth stands.

For this reason, their Terms of Use seriously matter for culture, politics, intellectual life, and public opinion in general. And Google has just changed its terms as they apply to YouTube. It’s a fair presumption that Google’s search results will reflect these same terms. They pertain directly to the science behind Covid, mitigation policies, and mandates on the vaccines. These new terms go into effect on January 6, 2022 (why that date?). If they are truly enforced, freedom of speech and the ability of the scientific process to operate unimpeded will be severely curtailed.

Under the new rules, you cannot claim “that the pandemic is over.” Which is to say, the pandemic is now declared to last forever. You cannot make “claims that any group or individual has immunity to the virus or cannot transmit the virus,” which means that all the science on naturally acquired immunity can be deleted.

You cannot claim that ”vaccines do not reduce risk of contracting COVID-19,” which directly contradicts the FDA: “The scientific community does not yet know if the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine will reduce such transmission.” You cannot post “videos alleging that social distancing and self-isolation are not effective in reducing the spread of the virus” and you cannot claim that “wearing a mask causes oxygen levels to drop to dangerous levels.”

And there is this one: you cannot make claims that “achieving herd immunity through natural infection is safer than vaccinating the population,” even though endemicity is inevitable and the vaccines cannot make a substantial contribution to its achievement due to their inability to protect fully against infection and transmission.

As usual, the long list of Do Nots also includes statements that are patently false and otherwise ridiculous – so much so that it seems not dangerous to permit them! The full list is extremely long and includes many fully open questions that Google/YouTube wants to be declared closed. Some of the Do Nots also include statements that are contradicted by statements from Fauci and Biden, such as the rule that you cannot make “claims that any vaccine is a guaranteed prevention method for COVID-19.” The head of the CDC made exactly this claim!

If these rules are strenuously enforced, millions of videos, interviews, television shows, lectures, press conferences, and scientific presentations will disappear. Maybe tens of millions actually. And all in the name of protecting “science” against its corruption, as if YouTube should be the determinant of what constitutes good science.

Here is what Google says about the consequences of violating the rules:

We may allow content that violates the misinformation policies noted on this page if that content includes additional context in the video, audio, title, or description. This is not a free pass to promote misinformation. Additional context may include countervailing views from local health authorities or medical experts. We may also make exceptions if the purpose of the content is to condemn, dispute, or satirize misinformation that violates our policies. We may also make exceptions for content showing an open public forum, like a protest or public hearing, provided the content does not aim to promote misinformation that violates our policies.

If your content violates this policy, we’ll remove the content and send you an email to let you know. If this is your first time violating our Community Guidelines, you’ll likely get a warning with no penalty to your channel. If it’s not, we may issue a strike against your channel. If you get 3 strikes within 90 days, your channel will be terminated.

An intriguing question for any defender of private enterprise – I am certainly that – is why Google would so willingly turn over its platform to a branch of the state and its medical/policy priorities. It cannot be simply the desire to only say true things because there is plenty that is thoroughly disputable in these rules and much has already been challenged by vast quantities of peer-reviewed studies.

How does it come to be that such a huge business can become fully captured by government? I have friends who say it is the reverse actually, that Google has fully captured government, and is driving forward the agenda of politics. Regardless, it becomes a troubled world in which one can no longer distinguish business from the state, or either from big pharmaceutical companies. The state finds it more advantageous to enlist business in its rights violations than risk the court challenges that come with directly violating the First Amendment. The law restricts states in ways that do not apply to private companies, so the answer for the state seems obvious: use the private sector to achieve state policy priorities, particularly as it pertains to controlling the information to which the public has access.

Others might observe that Google has everything to gain from its investment in lockdown policies and mandates, all the better to keep people glued to their personal computers. Even granting that big tech benefited enormously from lockdowns, that’s an outlook on enterprise that is too cynical for me to believe at this stage. Or maybe I’m naive.

What seems clear is that these censorious moves could seriously erode market share and give rise to new platforms that will eventually compete more directly. But before we get too optimistic about this, the time between now and then is a very long time away, while the change in the scientific culture that this move will enact starts next month.

Here is the full text of Google Terms of Use as it pertains to the most critical issues affecting freedom, free speech, and science in the world today. For your research amusement, you can see via the WaybackMachine how this page has expanded over time from its initial page on May 2, 2020, to today.

COVID-19 medical misinformation policy

The safety of our creators, viewers, and partners is our highest priority. We look to each of you to help us protect this unique and vibrant community. It’s important you understand our Community Guidelines, and the role they play in our shared responsibility to keep YouTube safe. Take the time to carefully read the policy below. You can also check out this page for a full list of our guidelines.

YouTube doesn’t allow content about COVID-19 that poses a serious risk of egregious harm. 

YouTube doesn’t allow content that spreads medical misinformation that contradicts local health authorities’ (LHA) or the World Health Organization’s (WHO) medical information about COVID-19. This is limited to content that contradicts WHO or local health authorities’ guidance on:

  • Treatment 
  • Prevention
  • Diagnosis
  • Transmission
  • Social distancing and self isolation guidelines
  • The existence of COVID-19

Note: YouTube’s policies on COVID-19 are subject to change in response to changes to global or local health authorities’ guidance on the virus. There may be a delay between new LHA/WHO guidance and policy updates given the frequency with which this guidance changes, and our policies may not cover all LHA/WHO guidance related to COVID-19. 

Our COVID-19 policies were first published on May 20, 2020. 

What this policy means for you

If you’re posting content

Don’t post content on YouTube if it includes any of the following:

Treatment misinformation

  • Content that encourages the use of home remedies, prayer, or rituals in place of medical treatment such as  consulting a doctor or going to the hospital
  • Content that claims that there’s a guaranteed cure for COVID-19
  • Content that recommends use of Ivermectin or Hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19
  • Claims that Hydroxychloroquine is an effective treatment for COVID-19
  • Categorical claims that Ivermectin is an effective treatment for COVID-19 
  • Claims that Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine are safe to use in the treatment COVID-19
  • Other content that discourages people from consulting a medical professional or seeking medical advice

Prevention misinformation: Content that promotes prevention methods that contradict local health authorities or WHO.

  • Claims that there is a guaranteed prevention method for COVID-19
    • Claims that any medication or vaccination is a guaranteed prevention method for COVID-19
  • Content that recommends use of Ivermectin or Hydroxychloroquine for the prevention of COVID-19
  • Claims that Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine are safe to use in the treatment COVID-19
  • Claims that wearing a mask is dangerous or causes negative physical health effects
  • Claims that masks do not play a role in preventing the contraction or transmission of COVID-19
  • Claims about COVID-19 vaccinations that contradict expert consensus from local health authorities or WHO
    • Claims that an approved COVID-19 vaccine will cause death, infertility, miscarriage, autism, or contraction of other infectious diseases
    • Claims that an approved COVID-19 vaccine will contain substances that are not on the vaccine ingredient list, such as biological matter from fetuses (e.g. fetal tissue, fetal cell lines) or animal products
    • Claims that an approved COVID-19 vaccine will contain substances or devices meant to track or identify those who’ve received it
    • Claims that COVID-19 vaccines will make people who receive them magnetic
    • Claims that an approved COVID-19 vaccine will alter a person’s genetic makeup
    • Claims that COVID-19 vaccines do not reduce risk of contracting COVID-19
    • Claims that any vaccine causes contraction of COVID-19
    • Claims that a specific population will be required (by any entity except for a government) to take part in vaccine trials or receive the vaccine first
    • Content that promotes the use of unapproved or homemade COVID-19 vaccines
    • Instructions to counterfeit vaccine certificates, or offers of sale for such documents

Diagnostic misinformation: Content that promotes diagnostic methods that contradict local health authorities or WHO.

  • Claims that approved COVID-19 tests are dangerous or cause negative physical health effects
  • Claims that approved COVID-19 tests cannot diagnose COVID-19

Transmission misinformation: Content that promotes transmission information that contradicts local health authorities or WHO.

  • Content that claims that COVID-19 is not caused by a viral infection
  • Content that claims COVID-19 is not contagious
  • Content that claims that COVID-19 cannot spread in certain climates or geographies
  • Content that claims that any group or individual has immunity to the virus or cannot transmit the virus

Social distancing and self isolation misinformation: Content that disputes the efficacy of local health authorities’ or WHO’s guidance on physical distancing or self-isolation measures to reduce transmission of COVID-19.

Content that denies the existence of COVID-19:

  • Denial that COVID-19 exists 
  • Claims that people have not died or gotten sick from COVID-19
  • Claims that the virus no longer exists or that the pandemic is over
  • Claims that the symptoms, death rates, or contagiousness of COVID-19 are less severe or equally as severe as the common cold or seasonal flu
  • Claims that the symptoms of COVID-19 are never severe

This policy applies to videos, video descriptions, comments, live streams, and any other YouTube product or feature. Keep in mind that this isn’t a complete list. Please note these policies also apply to external links in your content. This can include clickable URLs, verbally directing users to other sites in video, as well as other forms.

Examples

Here are some examples of content that’s not allowed on YouTube:

  • Denial that COVID-19 exists
  • Claims that people have not died from COVID-19
  • Claims that any vaccine is a guaranteed prevention method for COVID-19
  • Claims that a specific treatment or medicine is a guaranteed cure for COVID-19
  • Claims that hydroxychloroquine saves people from COVID-19
  • Promotion of MMS (Miracle Mineral Solution) for the treatment of COVID-19
  • Claims that certain people have immunity to COVID-19 due to their race or nationality
  • Encouraging taking home remedies instead of getting medical treatment when sick
  • Discouraging people from consulting a medical professional if they’re sick
  • Content that claims that holding your breath can be used as a diagnostic test for COVID-19
  • Videos alleging that if you avoid Asian food, you won’t get the coronavirus
  • Videos alleging that setting off fireworks can clean the air of the virus and will prevent the spread of the virus
  • Claims that COVID-19 is caused by radiation from 5G networks
  • Videos alleging that the COVID-19 test is the cause of the virus
  • Claims that countries with hot climates will not experience the spread of the virus
  • Videos alleging that social distancing and self-isolation are not effective in reducing the spread of the virus
  • Claims that wearing a mask causes oxygen levels to drop to dangerous levels
  • Claims that masks cause lung cancer or brain damage
  • Claims that wearing a mask gives you COVID-19
  • Claims that the COVID-19 vaccine will kill people who receive it
  • Claims that the COVID-19 vaccine will be used as a means of population reduction
  • Videos claiming that the COVID-19 vaccine will contain fetal tissue
  • Claims that the flu vaccine causes contraction of COVID-19
  • Claims that COVID-19 vaccines are not effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19
  • Claims that the COVID-19 vaccine causes contraction of other infectious diseases or makes people more vulnerable to contraction of other infectious diseases
  • Claims that the COVID-19 vaccines contain a microchip or tracking device
  • Claims that achieving herd immunity through natural infection is safer than vaccinating the population
  • Claims that COVID-19 never causes serious symptoms or hospitalization
  • Claims that the death rate from the seasonal flu is higher than the death rate of COVID-19
  • Claims that people are immune to the virus based on their race
  • Claims that children cannot or do not contract COVID-19
  • Claims that there have not been cases or deaths in countries where cases or deaths have been confirmed by local health authorities or the WHO

Educational, documentary, scientific or artistic content

We may allow content that violates the misinformation policies noted on this page if that content includes additional context in the video, audio, title, or description. This is not a free pass to promote misinformation. Additional context may include countervailing views from local health authorities or medical experts. We may also make exceptions if the purpose of the content is to condemn, dispute, or satirize misinformation that violates our policies. We may also make exceptions for content showing an open public forum, like a protest or public hearing, provided the content does not aim to promote misinformation that violates our policies. 

What happens if content violates this policy

If your content violates this policy, we’ll remove the content and send you an email to let you know. If this is your first time violating our Community Guidelines, you’ll likely get a warning with no penalty to your channel. If it’s not, we may issue a strike against your channel. If you get 3 strikes within 90 days, your channel will be terminated. You can learn more about our strikes system here.

We may terminate your channel or account for repeated violations of the Community Guidelines or Terms of Service. We may also terminate your channel or account after a single case of severe abuse, or when the channel is dedicated to a policy violation. You can learn more about channel or account terminations here.

Jeffrey A. Tucker is Founder and President of the Brownstone Institute and the author of many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press and ten books in 5 languages, most recently Liberty or Lockdown

December 3, 2021 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | Leave a comment

Democrats and Media Do Not Want to Weaken Facebook, Just Commandeer its Power to Censor

By Glenn Greenwald | October 5, 2021

Much is revealed by who is bestowed hero status by the corporate media. This week’s anointed avatar of stunning courage is Frances Haugen, a former Facebook product manager being widely hailed as a “whistleblower” for providing internal corporate documents to the Wall Street Journal relating to the various harms which Facebook and its other platforms (Instagram and WhatsApp) are allegedly causing.

The social media giant hurts America and the world, this narrative maintains, by permitting misinformation to spread (presumably more so than cable outlets and mainstream newspapers do virtually every week); fostering body image neurosis in young girls through Instagram (presumably more so than fashion magazines, Hollywood and the music industry do with their glorification of young and perfectly-sculpted bodies); promoting polarizing political content in order to keep the citizenry enraged, balkanized and resentful and therefore more eager to stay engaged (presumably in contrast to corporate media outlets, which would never do such a thing); and, worst of all, by failing to sufficiently censor political content that contradicts liberal orthodoxies and diverges from decreed liberal Truth. On Tuesday, Haugen’s star turn took her to Washington, where she spent the day testifying before the Senate about Facebook’s dangerous refusal to censor even more content and ban even more users than they already do.

There is no doubt, at least to me, that Facebook and Google are both grave menaces. Through consolidation, mergers and purchases of any potential competitors, their power far exceeds what is compatible with a healthy democracy. A bipartisan consensus has emerged on the House Antitrust Committee that these two corporate giants — along with Amazon and Apple — are all classic monopolies in violation of long-standing but rarely enforced antitrust laws. Their control over multiple huge platforms that they purchased enables them to punish and even destroy competitors, as we saw when Apple, Google and Amazon united to remove Parler from the internet forty-eight hours after leading Democrats demanded that action, right as Parler became the most-downloaded app in the country, or as Google suppresses Rumble videos in its dominant search feature as punishment for competing with Google’s YouTube platform. Facebook and Twitter both suppressed reporting on the authentic documents about Joe Biden’s business activities reported by The New York Post just weeks before the 2020 election. These social media giants also united to effectively remove the sitting elected President of the United States from the internet, prompting grave warnings from leaders across the democratic world about how anti-democratic their consolidated censorship power has become.

But none of the swooning over this new Facebook heroine nor any of the other media assaults on Facebook have anything remotely to do with a concern over those genuine dangers. Congress has taken no steps to curb the influence of these Silicon Valley giants because Facebook and Google drown the establishment wings of both parties with enormous amounts of cash and pay well-connected lobbyists who are friends and former colleagues of key lawmakers to use their D.C. influence to block reform. With the exception of a few stalwarts, neither party’s ruling wing really has any objection to this monopolistic power as long as it is exercised to advance their own interests.

And that is Facebook’s only real political problem: not that they are too powerful but that they are not using that power to censor enough content from the internet that offends the sensibilities and beliefs of Democratic Party leaders and their liberal followers, who now control the White House, the entire executive branch and both houses of Congress. Haugen herself, now guided by long-time Obama operative Bill Burton, has made explicitly clear that her grievance with her former employer is its refusal to censor more of what she regards as “hate, violence and misinformation.” In a 60 Minutes interview on Sunday night, Haugen summarized her complaint about CEO Mark Zuckerberg this way: he “has allowed choices to be made where the side effects of those choices are that hateful and polarizing content gets more distribution and more reach.” Haugen, gushed The New York Times’ censorship-desperate tech unit as she testified on Tuesday, is “calling for regulation of the technology and business model that amplifies hate and she’s not shy about comparing Facebook to tobacco.”

Agitating for more online censorship has been a leading priority for the Democratic Party ever since they blamed social media platforms (along with WikiLeaks, Russia, Jill Stein, James Comey, The New York Times, and Bernie Bros) for the 2016 defeat of the rightful heir to the White House throne, Hillary Clinton. And this craving for censorship has been elevated into an even more urgent priority for their corporate media allies, due to the same belief that Facebook helped elect Trump but also because free speech on social media prevents them from maintaining a stranglehold on the flow of information by allowing ordinary, uncredentialed serfs to challenge, question and dispute their decrees or build a large audience that they cannot control. Destroying alternatives to their failing platforms is thus a means of self-preservation: realizing that they cannot convince audiences to trust their work or pay attention to it, they seek instead to create captive audiences by destroying or at least controlling any competitors to their pieties.

As I have been reporting for more than a year, Democrats do not make any secret of their intent to co-opt Silicon Valley power to police political discourse and silence their enemies. Congressional Democrats have summoned the CEO’s of Google, Facebook and Twitter four times in the last year to demand they censor more political speech. At the last Congressional inquisition in March, one Democrat after the next explicitly threatened the companies with legal and regulatory reprisals if they did not immediately start censoring more.

Pew survey from August shows that Democrats now overwhelmingly support internet censorship not only by tech giants but also by the government which their party now controls. In the name of “restricting misinformation,” more than 3/4 of Democrats want tech companies “to restrict false info online, even if it limits freedom of information,” and just under 2/3 of Democrats want the U.S. Government to control that flow of information over the internet:

The prevailing pro-censorship mindset of the Democratic Party is reflected not only by that definitive polling data but also by the increasingly brash and explicit statements of their leaders. At the end of 2020, Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), newly elected after young leftist activists worked tirelessly on his behalf to fend off a primary challenge from the more centrist Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA), told Facebook’s Zuckerberg exactly what the Democratic Party wanted. In sum, they demand more censorship:

This, and this alone, is the sole reason why there is so much adoration being constructed around the cult of this new disgruntled Facebook employee. What she provides, above all else, is a telegenic and seemingly informed “insider” face to tell Americans that Facebook is destroying their country and their world by allowing too much content to go uncensored, by permitting too many conversations among ordinary people that are, in the immortal worlds of the NYT‘s tech reporter Taylor Lorenz, “unfettered.”

When Facebook, Google, Twitter and other Silicon Valley social media companies were created, they did not set out to become the nation’s discourse police. Indeed, they affirmatively wanted not to do that. Their desire to avoid that role was due in part to the prevailing libertarian ideology of a free internet in that sub-culture. But it was also due to self-interest: the last thing social media companies wanted to be doing is looking for ways to remove and block people from using their product and, worse, inserting themselves into the middle of inflammatory political controversies. Corporations seek to avoid angering potential customers and users over political stances, not courting that anger.

This censorship role was not one they so much sought as one that was foisted on them. It was not really until the 2016 election, when Democrats were obsessed with blaming social media giants (and pretty much everyone else except themselves) for their humiliating defeat, that pressure began escalating on these executives to start deleting content liberals deemed dangerous or false and banning their adversaries from using the platforms at all. As it always does, the censorship began by targeting widely disliked figures — Milo Yiannopoulos, Alex Jones and others deemed “dangerous” — so that few complained (and those who did could be vilified as sympathizers of the early offenders). Once entrenched, the censorship net then predictably and rapidly spread inward (as it invariably does) to encompass all sorts of anti-establishment dissidents on the right, the left, and everything in between. And no matter how much it widens, the complaints that it is not enough intensify. For those with the mentality of a censor, there can never be enough repression of dissent. And this plot to escalate censorship pressures found the perfect vessel in this stunningly brave and noble Facebook heretic who emerged this week from the shadows into the glaring spotlight. She became a cudgel that Washington politicians and their media allies could use to beat Facebook into submission to their censorship demands.

In this dynamic we find what the tech and culture writer Curtis Yarvin calls “power leak.” This is a crucial concept for understanding how power is exercised in American oligarchy, and Yarvin’s brilliant essay illuminates this reality as well as it can be described. Hyperbolically arguing that “Mark Zuckerberg has no power at all,” Yarvin points out that it may appear that the billionaire Facebook CEO is powerful because he can decide what will and will not be heard on the largest information distribution platform in the world. But in reality, Zuckerberg is no more powerful than the low-paid content moderators whom Facebook employs to hit the “delete” or “ban” button, since it is neither the Facebook moderators nor Zuckerberg himself who is truly making these decisions. They are just censoring as they are told, in obedience to rules handed down from on high. It is the corporate press and powerful Washington elites who are coercing Facebook and Google to censor in accordance with their wishes and ideology upon pain of punishment in the form of shame, stigma and even official legal and regulatory retaliation. Yarvin puts it this way:

However, if Zuck is subject to some kind of oligarchic power, he is in exactly the same position as his own moderators. He exercises power, but it is not his power, because it is not his will. The power does not flow from him; it flows through him. This is why we can say honestly and seriously that he has no power. It is not his, but someone else’s. . . .

Zuck doesn’t want to do any of this. Nor do his users particularly want it. Rather, he is doing it because he is under pressure from the press. Duh. He cannot even admit that he is under duress—or his Vietcong guards might just snap, and shoot him like the Western running-dog capitalist he is….

And what grants the press this terrifying power? The pure and beautiful power of the logos? What distinguishes a well-written post, like this one, from an equally well-written Times op-ed? Nothing at all but prestige. In normal times, every sane CEO will comply unhesitatingly with the slightest whim of the legitimate press, just as they will comply unhesitatingly with a court order. That’s just how it is. To not call this power government is—just playing with words.

As I have written before, this problem — whereby the government coerces private actors to censor for them — is not one that Yarvin was the first to recognize. The U.S. Supreme Court has held, since at least 1963, that the First Amendment’s “free speech” clause is violated when state officials issue enough threats and other forms of pressure that essentially leave the private actor with no real choice but to censor in accordance with the demands of state officials. Whether we are legally at the point where that constitutional line has been crossed by the increasingly blunt bullying tactics of Democratic lawmakers and executive branch officials is a question likely to be resolved in the courts. But whatever else is true, this pressure is very real and stark and reveals that the real goal of Democrats is not to weaken Facebook but to capture its vast power for their own nefarious ends.

There is another issue raised by this week’s events that requires ample caution as well. The canonized Facebook whistleblower and her journalist supporters are claiming that what Facebook fears most is repeal or reform of Section 230, the legislative provision that provides immunity to social media companies for defamatory or other harmful material published by their users. That section means that if a Facebook user or YouTube host publishes legally actionable content, the social media companies themselves cannot be held liable. There may be ways to reform Section 230 that can reduce the incentive to impose censorship, such as denying that valuable protection to any platform that censors, instead making it available only to those who truly allow an unmoderated platform to thrive. But such a proposal has little support in Washington. What is far more likely is that Section 230 will be “modified” to impose greater content moderation obligations on all social media companies.

Far from threatening Facebook and Google, such a legal change could be the greatest gift one can give them, which is why their executives are often seen calling on Congress to regulate the social media industry. Any legal scheme that requires every post and comment to be moderated would demand enormous resources — gigantic teams of paid experts and consultants to assess “misinformation” and “hate speech” and veritable armies of employees to carry out their decrees. Only the established giants such as Facebook and Google would be able to comply with such a regimen, while other competitors — including large but still-smaller ones such as Twitter — would drown in those requirements. And still-smaller challengers to the hegemony of Facebook and Google, such as Substack and Rumble, could never survive. In other words, any attempt by Congress to impose greater content moderation obligations — which is exactly what they are threatening — would destroy whatever possibility remains for competitors to arise and would, in particular, destroy any platforms seeking to protect free discourse. That would be the consequence by design, which is why one should be very wary of any attempt to pretend that Facebook and Google fear such legislative adjustments.

There are real dangers posed by allowing companies such as Facebook and Google to amass the power they have now consolidated. But very little of the activism and anger from the media and Washington toward these companies is designed to fracture or limit that power. It is designed, instead, to transfer that power to other authorities who can then wield it for their own interests. The only thing more alarming than Facebook and Google controlling and policing our political discourse is allowing elites from one of the political parties in Washington and their corporate media outlets to assume the role of overseer, as they are absolutely committed to doing. Far from being some noble whistleblower, Frances Haugen is just their latest tool to exploit for their scheme to use the power of social media giants to control political discourse in accordance with their own views and interests.

October 6, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rep. Adam Schiff says YouTube’s ban of vaccine skepticism doesn’t go far enough

By Christina Maas | Reclaim The Net | October 2, 2021

Rep. Adam Schiff praised YouTube’s decision to ban all vaccine skepticism but said it was not the “end of our fight against misinformation.”

On Wednesday afternoon, YouTube announced that it will ban all vaccine skepticism to stop the spread of what it says is misinformation. The ban not only applies to COVID vaccines but also any other vaccines that pharmaceutical companies produce.

While making the announcement, YouTube said: “Today’s policy update is an important step to address vaccine and health misinformation on our platform, and we’ll continue to invest across the board.”

YouTube’s decision was applauded by many, including Rep. Adam Schiff.

“YouTube’s curbing of anti-vaccine content is a strong first step,” the Democrat congressman wrote on Twitter. But this doesn’t mark the end of our fight against deadly misinformation. These policies must be enforced. And we must keep pushing for other companies to follow suit. What do you say, @Amazon and @Facebook?” hinting at his demands for more censorship.

October 2, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , | 5 Comments

YouTube Bans Mercola, Others Without Warning but Tips Off Media First

By Dr. Joseph Mercola | October 1, 2021

In a move to override the First Amendment with its own interpretation of what constitutes free speech, YouTube spent the last few days of September planning and executing a coup that included notifying major media of what they were doing before they pulled it off.

The coup was a sudden strike against Mercola.com, the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and others whose channels YouTube decided to shut down without as much as a single word of warning — except to news agencies that obviously were tipped off in advance.

According to the Washington Post, YouTube was specifically targeting channels “associated with high-profile anti-vaccine activists … who experts say are partially responsible for helping seed the skepticism that’s contributed to slowing vaccination rates across the country.”

Early in the work day September 29, the Post gave Dr. Mercola exactly 23 minutes to respond to a story they had to have already had written about. They contacted Mercola’s media department just after 9 a.m.; they broke the story at 9:35 a.m.

CNBC’s Jim Forkin must have had a tip too, from YouTube, as he contacted Mercola at 9:12 a.m., with just two sentences: “Have your videos been removed from YouTube?” and “Do you have a statement or comment?”

YouTube, meanwhile, quietly changed their policies regarding who gets to publish on their server and who gets banned. It was a deviously brilliant move: Just change the rules to match the (previously compliant) content of the individuals you want to remove, and provide users no time to remain in compliance of the new rules.

October 2, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | Leave a comment

If YouTube’s block of RT’s German channels is about ‘misinformation’, when will MSNBC & CNN be banned for Russiagate conspiracies?

By Glenn Diesen | RT | September 30, 2021

Russia is locked into yet another standoff with an American tech company. This time, it’s YouTube, which has taken down two of RT’s German-language news channels and provoked a furious response from Moscow’s most senior officials.

The decision, understood to have been taken over allegations the broadcaster tried to circumvent a ‘community standards strike’ handed down over ‘medical misinformation’, has seen Russia’s regulators rally round RT DE and its sister account, Der Fehlende Part.

Roskomnadzor, the Russian federal executive agency responsible for overseeing the media, warned Google it would be fined if did not end the suspension. At the same time, RT’s editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan, cautioned that this was “a declaration of media war against Russia by Germany,” and argued in favour of retaliatory restrictions against German media in Russia.

The closure of German-language RT channels should be seen in the context of growing censorship in the West and hostility to Moscow’s media outlets.

The rise of censorship in the West

Censorship has acquired a new dictionary over the past few years, with the rise of concepts such as safe spaces, cancel culture, and de-platforming – which are synonyms for striking down what people can and can’t say. Terms like hate speech and propaganda are defined increasingly loosely and censorship is therefore imposed on a wider and more inconsistent basis. The US government works hand in glove with the private tech giants to re-label censorship at platform policies.

There is especially a growing effort to legitimise censoring news and media related to Russia, which is usually conducted under the auspices of “countering propaganda.” We are constantly informed that Russia is launching a disinformation and propaganda campaign against the West to undermine its democracies. The response to this alleged threat by Western governments is a firm campaign of one-sided fact-checkers and efforts to out-propaganda the supposed propagandists.

The problem is that what is framed as counter-propaganda usually looks indistinguishable from propaganda, and merely undermines and ignores the arguments on the other side. Propaganda is the science of persuading an audience without reason by instead appealing to group psychology and emotional rhetoric. If propaganda entails “closing the mind to argument,” then countering propaganda implies appealing to reason by objectively presenting competing arguments.

British philosopher Bertrand Russell is known for arguing during the Cold War that countering communist propaganda did not necessitate simply censoring the Soviet Union, as such a move would merely give space for British propaganda. Instead, he envisioned counter-propaganda as facilitating all perspectives by, for example, organising a debate between Stalin and the Archbishop of Canterbury. By redefining propaganda as anything that presents Russia favourably – debates that give Russian arguments a platform and legitimacy are deemed dangerous and thus require censorship. Under this new definition of propaganda, even the Russian Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine and Russian cartoons are considered propaganda.

It is only a year ago that Hunter Biden’s laptop scandal unfolded ahead of the US presidential election, purporting to reveal that now-US President Joe Biden was involved in corruption with Ukraine and China. Fearing that this revelation could cause Joe Biden to lose the election, the Biden campaign adopted the same Russiagate playbook as the Clinton campaign – blame Russia.

By labelling the entire scandal a Russian disinformation campaign, the media chose not to report on the matter while social media platforms outright censored the story from their platforms. Well, last week the evidence was in – the incriminating emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop were completely authentic and Moscow had absolutely nothing to do with it. Much like the conspiracy theories linking former President Donald Trump to the Kremlin and the tale of Russia placing bounties on US troops in Afghanistan – the disinformation came from the Western media.

In many cases, mainstream outlets have championed claims that were at the time unsubstantiated, and now fully discredited, without ever correcting themselves. American networks including MSNBC and CNN have played host to some of the most egregiously untrue Russia-gate conspiracy theories. Those, like Rachel Maddow, who unapologetically championed them, have never faced repercussions for their careers, and their sensationalist content still sits online proud as punch and without retraction or amendment. Accountability, it seems, is something reserved for other people.

Western states are also countering alleged Russian disinformation with ‘fact-checkers’. The problem is that these fact-checkers do not actually check facts, they check narratives, impose their own, and thereby operate as a Ministry of Truth.

Case in point, the EU fact-checkers label the reference to ‘coup’ to describe the events in Ukraine in February 2014 as Russian disinformation, as it was argued to supposedly have been a ‘democratic revolution’ and that former leader Viktor Yanukovich chose to leave the country voluntarily.

Actual fact-checkers would check objective facts: Did the OSCE characterise the election of President Yanukovich as free and fair? – Yes. Did the removal of Yanukovich from power violate the Ukrainian constitution? – Yes. Did the toppling of Yanukovich enjoy support from a democratic majority of the Ukrainian population? – No. Did the US and EU support the removal of Yanukovich? – Yes. Instead of fact-checking, the fact-checkers employ ambiguous and contradictory terms such as ‘democratic revolution’ to delegitimise the Russian position. Subsequently, these fact-checkers send an unmistakable signal to Western media that they cannot discuss the extent to which a coup occurred in Ukraine, as this can be considered peddling Russian disinformation.

Diversity of perspectives demands a diversity of media

The media landscape is polarising both domestically and internationally. Within the US, liberals who appear on conservative media platforms are chastised for their lack of loyalty to the group. Within Europe, the media polarises between pro-Brexit and anti-Brexit, or between pro-EU and anti-EU.

Groupthink is amplified and the subsequent polarisation implies that the nuances disappear as political questions are framed as a struggle between right and wrong, or good and evil. With the death of objective reporting, the solution for the audience to remain informed is a diversity of media – both CNN and Fox News, both The Daily Telegraph and the Guardian, both Haaretz and Al Jazeera.

The Western media acts in conformity with a heavy anti-Russian bias that reflects the alliance system and security architecture of a divided Europe. Those interested in Russian politics should by no means limit themselves to RT as the sole arbiter of truth, but RT is an important contribution to a severely polarised media landscape.

The Western media has exceptionally poor reporting on Russia, as it is ideologically constrained from recognising Russian security concerns. All political questions are filtered through the simplistic and outdated binary stereotypes of ‘democracy’ versus ‘authoritarianism’ that provides little if any heuristic value to understand the complexities of the socio-economic, political, and military conflicts.

The inability to recognise that the West can threaten Russian security makes it impossible to have any reasonable analysis of Russian foreign policy. By neglecting external threats and limiting the analysis of Russia to its internal characteristics, Russian policies can only be explained by referencing Putin’s belligerent personality or nostalgia for empire.

The information space is becoming a key battleground in great power rivalry, and for the sake of an informed population, we have to hope what some see as propaganda is countered with reason – not just more propaganda.

Glenn Diesen is a Professor at the University of South-Eastern Norway and an editor at the Russia in Global Affairs journal.

September 30, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Russia will take ‘zero tolerance’ approach to US tech giant YouTube’s ‘censorship’ of RT’s German-language channels

RT | September 29, 2021

YouTube has violated Russian law by taking down two German-language channels run by RT, the Kremlin has insisted, cautioning that the American tech giant will face serious consequences unless it urgently reinstates the accounts.

Speaking to journalists on Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary said that “there are of course signs that Russian law has been broken” after the platform moved to ban RT DE and Der Fehlende Part from its site. “In fact, it has been broken very brazenly,” Dmitry Peskov added. “Because of this, it is a case of censorship, and of obstructing the dissemination of information by the media, and so on.”

Peskov added that “there must be zero tolerance for such violations of the law,” insisting that “if our regulators deem this is a violation of legislation then we can’t exclude the possibility we will take measures to force this network to comply with the law.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Moscow’s media watchdog, Roskomnadzor, published a letter sent to YouTube’s parent company, Google, demanding all restrictions be lifted from RT’s channels. The purportedly permanent deletion was imposed after the German-language broadcaster allegedly attempted to circumvent a ‘community guidelines’ strike, handed down for ‘medical misinformation’ in four videos. The details of the purported breach are not yet clear, but RT’s editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan, has said that it amounts to “a declaration of media war against Russia by Germany.”

Roskomnadzor went on to tell Google that, if the site does not comply with the order, “legislation allows us to take measures including completely or partially blocking access to it.”

Moscow’s Foreign Ministry has also announced that it is considering taking steps against German news outlets in retaliation over the decision. “Adopting reciprocal measures against the German media in Russia which, by the way, has been repeatedly shown to have interfered in our country’s internal affairs, seems not only appropriate but necessary,” it said in a statement.

Officials went on to say that such restrictions are “the only possible way to focus our partners’ attention on a constructive and meaningful dialogue around this unacceptable situation.” According to the diplomats, YouTube acted not out of adherence to its community policies but with the “obvious connivance, if not the insistence,” of German authorities.

Berlin has denied involvement in the decision and insists that the matter is one for YouTube alone.

September 29, 2021 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

YouTube backtracks on censorship of Illinois school board meeting over COVID comments

Public meetings on YouTube are still struggling

By Dan Frieth | Reclaim The Net | September 24, 2021

YouTube deleted videos of an Illinois school board meeting, allegedly over the violation of its strict COVID-19 rules.

The Springfield District Board said YouTube removed videos of a June 21 meeting over the violation of “medical misinformation policy, presumably due to the public comment portion.”

A parent in the school district, Ryan Jugan, said that his public comments on COVID-19 policies, made on the board’s meetings videos, had been censored by YouTube. In a statement to Cities929, Jugan said “as a parent [and] concerned citizen, witnessing censorship, suppression of medical professionals, science and data is appalling.”

The board’s president Anthony Mares said while the board welcomes public comments, it also has a desire for “public business we conduct at board meetings be widely available through YouTube.” For that reason, the board would “no longer include public comment in our YouTube meeting videos so that public business is available to distant families.”

The board’s spokesperson Bree Hankins said that they appealed the decision to delete the video, but YouTube declined.

“This counted as a warning, but further violations could result in an official strike and we would be unable to upload, post or live stream to YouTube for any purpose for at least one week upon another infraction,” Hankins said. “This has happened to other school districts in Illinois and elsewhere.”

“We never regained access to the removed video via YouTube,” Hankins said. “However, we do have the full versions of the board meeting video.”

Meanwhile, the board is exploring other alternatives where the public would be able to comment without censorship.

However, a spokesperson for YouTube confirmed that the video had been reinstated and the channel was not slapped with a strike.

“Upon further review, we’re reinstating the Springfield School District’s meeting video,” the spokesperson said in a statement to Reclaim The Net.

September 24, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | Leave a comment

YouTube deletes interview with congressman Thomas Massie

By Cindy Harper | Reclaim The Net | September 17, 2021

An episode on author and podcaster Tom Woods’ channel featuring Congressman Thomas Massie was deleted by YouTube. The Google-owned platform claimed that the video violated its community guidelines but did not specify which guidelines were violated other than that the video contained “medical misinformation.”

In the interview (uncensored on Odysee), Massie talked about ignoring the mask-wearing mandate in the House of Representatives.

He also asked: “If a vaccination mandate is immoral, is it moral to fake your vaccine card?”

However, he clarified that: “I’m not advocating. I’m asking the question.”

Massie is no stranger to censorship on Big Tech platforms. Just last month, Twitter quarantined a tweet from the congressman, preventing people from responding to and sharing it.

September 17, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 2 Comments

Platforms censored posts saying Biden could introduce federal vaccine mandate as CDC’s own fact check denied it

By Cindy Harper | Reclaim The Net | September 12, 2021

During the last 18 months, social media platforms have often used the recommendations of the CDC as a basis of censorship online. The CDC’s own “Myths and Facts section explained clearly, and still does at the time of publication, that the federal government does not mandate vaccines and that it’s a matter for states and local governments.

Social media users who suggested that Biden was going to introduce a federal mandate were censored online and told they were providing misinformation, likely falling back on the fact that the CDC’s own statement on the issue (a go-to source for mainstream social media platforms) said it was false and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi had also made it clear that the federal government doesn’t have the power to exert such authority.

Back in July, Dave Rubin, an author and political commentator, was locked out of Twitter for saying the Biden administration wanted a federal vaccine mandate.

“They want a federal vaccine mandate for vaccines which are clearly not working as promised just weeks ago. People are getting and transmitting Covid despite vax. Plus now they’re prepping us for booster shots. A sane society would take a pause. We do not live in a sane society,” read his original tweet.

On Friday, he took to Twitter to remind people of his suspension for predicting something that was going to happen.

Alongside a screenshot of the original tweet, he wrote: “Reminder: Twitter banned me for saying they want a federal vaccine mandate back in July.”

He had to remove the tweet for his account to be restored.

Similarly, the popular YouTube commentary channel MrObvious, had a video removed by YouTube for making a similar statement; that Biden would federally mandate vaccines.

“About a week ago I made a video on YouTube about vaccine federal mandates and YouTube took down that video. I don’t know why – maybe they thought that I was simply – I don’t know – jumping the gun saying that Biden was going to do these federal mandates,” Mr Obvious said in a recent video. “Well guess what? Mr Obvious was in fact right.”

September 12, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

YouTube censors Gavin Newsom critic, Errol Webber

By Didi Rankovic | Reclaim The Net | August 26, 2021

California Governor Gavin Newsom, who is currently facing recall in his state and could realistically lose, is still popular among at least one “demographic” – YouTube censors, whether they’re automated or human.

At least that transpires now that Oscar winning filmmaker Errol Webber is facing what reports say is “double censors” because he’s really not fond of the Democrat’s track record in office.

Webber won his Oscar for “Music by Prudence” that deals with a singer with disabilities in Zimbabwe. Back in California, though, Webber decided to flex his apparently stellar documentary-making muscle by taking on a project under the title, “100 Reasons to Recall Gavin Newsom” that looks into all the things that Newsom did wrong during his three years in office, reports say.

This is where things came to a screeching halt, at least on YouTube, where the video got blocked and placed under a total of two warning labels.

In one screenshot shared by Webber, YouTube declared the Newsom era-exposing documentary as something that “may not be appropriate for some users” (true enough – especially when it comes to his hard-core political supporters, but why would YouTube care to appease those?).

Plus, YouTube sent Webber an email informing him that his content was not appropriate for all age groups.

So YouTube was “thinking of the children,” not “of the Democrats” here.

In any case, users can still see the video but only if they wish to proceed by clicking a button on an ominously back screen complete with a prominent exclamation mark seemingly demoting danger ahead.

The other labelled screen reads, (with another the big exclamation mark and a button that lets users “understand and proceed,” reading that, “the following content has been identified by the YouTube community as inappropriate and offensive to some audiences.”

One would be hard pressed to find a video on YouTube that doesn’t fall into this nebulous category of “offending” someone’s sensibilities; but for YouTube not all sensibilities are born equal.

The video showcasing Newsom’s term in office uses “authoritative” sources like CNN and AP to document all that’s gone wrong during the governor’s rule.

“I made sure that many of the sources for this video were left wing media, so if the fact checkers on YouTube and Facebook wanted to fact check me and discredit something they would be discrediting their own left wing media,” Webber said.

And despite the hurdles on its way, Webber’s content is still finding an audience on YouTube – until, that is, the giant fine-tweaks its censorship tools to downrank what it doesn’t like without necessarily removing it.

August 26, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment