Time to regulate Google and Facebook?

youtube censorship

As per a Bloomberg report on Wednesday, YouTube claims they “accidentally” took down conservative channels and deleted right wing/pro gun/conservative videos on their platform following the Florida high school shooting. Here’s from the Bloomberg article:

YouTube’s new moderators, brought in to spot fake, misleading and extreme videos, stumbled in one of their first major tests, mistakenly removing some clips and channels in the midst of a nationwide debate on gun control.The Google division said in December it would assign more than 10,000 people to moderate content after a year of scandals over fake and inappropriate content on the world’s largest video site. In the wake of the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, some YouTube moderators mistakenly removed several videos and some channels from right-wing, pro-gun video producers and outlets.But YouTube said some content was taken down by mistake. The site didn’t address specific cases and it’s unclear if it meant to take action on the accounts of Frost and Corsi.

There are various alternatives out there, I know; however, the nature of YouTube and similar video streaming services is that you need to build enough content to achieve a form of critical mass. People go to YouTube because everything is there. People make videos for YouTube because everyone is there.

When it comes to alternative platforms, they are competing against the above. Why would someone go to an alternative where the chances are what they are looking for isn’t there? Why would someone make videos and put them on an alternative platform when said alternative has only 1% of the potential for views as they get on YouTube?

It is a catch 22 situation and the reason YouTube, Googke or Facebook are a quasi-monopoly; they have a degree of market dominance that makes it incredibly difficult for competitors to get a meaningful foothold. It isn’t even a question of investment – even huge investment can be sunk into such a project without success simply because the road to critical mass is dependent on people wanting to publish videos or whatever content.

And speaking of heavily left leaning behemoths like Facebook or YouTube, I remember when the “left” was exemplified by a fierce defense of civil liberties and a healthy skepticism as to the motives of people in power. The “left” was the guy that worked at the steel mill who was union, or the lawyer like Bill Kuntsler who defended individual rights, or the Vanity Fair writer Christopher Hitchens. I remember when the “arguments” could be had in the way that Alan Dershowitz argues, rationally and with a high regard to truth and integrity.

I found much to disagree with, but I also found a principle within their position that could not be ignored, and had to be considered. I remember that this all used to be “politics” and we didn’t have to argue like savages, because, frankly the government wasn’t nearly as in our face as it is now and didn’t dominate our thoughts and actions because it was far more benign, i.e. It had far less power and far less ability to surveil us and far less an appetite for control.

I know old school liberals who now admit that conservatives were right about that. That expanding government into our every day lives wasn’t as good an idea as they once thought and some now regret their voices in support of it.

I know old school conservatives who now admit it was foolish to hand the government the power to control personal decisions like smoking a joint, because the government used that power to then turn around and gore their ox, since power itself doesn’t play favorites. It just exerts itself or is exerted by those who want to wield it.

I know that it wasn’t this bad until one Republican used a tragedy in NYC to geometrically expand the police state and one Democrat decided that the politics of race and class warfare was a good idea. Now the arguments aren’t so philosophical and far away, like they should be with a properly proportioned state executing a limited set of powers, now it the power of the state that that one Republican expanded used by the warring classes and the races to achieve nothing more than naked power.

Getting back to “business”, somebody with enough resources needs to sue YouTube & Google until blood comes out their ears. It is the only thing they understand. And if we had an Attorney General worthy of his position, he’d be charging them with conspiracy to violate the First Amendment rights of Americans.

Why are social media platforms different from any other common carrier? Can you imagine the phone company cutting off your phone service because they didn’t like what you were saying? Or the phone company refusing to put a phone into a store because they sell Bibles, guns?