Can YouTube Censor?
By David Henderson
No, it can’t.
On Monday, the conservative educational nonprofit Prager University filed a lawsuit against YouTube and its parent company, Google, for “intentional” censorship of conservative speakers. YouTube made more than fifteen percent of the organization’s videos impossible to access in its “restrictive mode” — meant to protect younger and more sensitive viewers — and only slowly provided contradictory answers for why they were restricted.
“Watch any one of our videos and you’ll immediately realize that Google/YouTube censorship is entirely ideologically driven,” PragerU founder Dennis Prager declared in a statement on the lawsuit. He accused Google and YouTube of “engaging in an arbitrary and capricious use of their ‘restricted mode’ and ‘demonetization’ to restrict non-left political thought.”
This is from Tyler O’Neil, “PragerU Sues YouTube, Google for ‘Intentional’ Censorship of Conservative Speakers,” PJ Media, October 24.
What YouTube did sucks. They may well be hypocrites. They pretty clearly are discriminating against certain viewpoints. But none of this constitutes censorship.
Google owns YouTube and gets to choose what gets placed on YouTube. That’s no different in principle from Liberty Fund owning this blog and getting to choose who gets to post. Clearly Liberty Fund doesn’t have the market power that YouTube has. But that doesn’t change the principle.
Disclosure: I’ve been interviewed by, and like, Dennis Prager. PragerU has also produced a video by me on the minimum wage.