YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki admitted on Sunday that hundreds of ads for President Donald Trump’s campaign have been taken down but insists that there is no discrimination against him.
YouTube is the most used network in the United States and the second most searched site, after Google, the owner of the online video platform.
“60 Minutes” traveled to YouTube’s California headquarters to interview the company’s CEO and understand why these ads were removed.
Asked by journalist Lesley Stahl about whether President Trump’s ads had been blocked on YouTube, Wojcicki responded, “There are ads of President Trump that were not approved to run on Google or YouTube,” however, the CEO refused to give an example and assured that these cases are duly justified in the company’s Transparency Report.
However, after accessing Google’s political ads file, the existence of these ads can be verified, but nowhere is it specified which rule they violated, according to “60 Minutes.”
“There is no transparency in the Transparency Report,” Stahl said, adding that the ads were initially broadcast for a few days before they were removed, so Google did charge for them.
Conservatives have felt very discriminated on YouTube, insisted the journalist, to which Wojcicki responded that there are many “conservative creators” who are very successful on YouTube and reaffirmed that there is no kind of algorithm that politically penalizes the content.
But Dennis Prager, a popular U.S. communicator, writer, and intellectual who claims to have suffered censorship, has a different view.
During an interview with journalist Eric Bolling of The Blaze TV in November, Prager condemned the systematic censorship he has suffered in social networks such as YouTube, Twitter and Google, where he assures that his videos and ads have been blocked just because he is conservative.
“They put you on a restricted list,” Prager explained, and went on to tell how Ted Cruz (Republican senator) asked a Google manager in front of him: ‘Why have Mr.Prager’s videos been put on the restricted list, which is reserved for pornography and violence? Well, because he mentions the word murder,'” Prager said.
Bolling asked Prager if he thinks big technology companies are silencing conservative voices to which Prager answered yes and cited as an example a recently published Project Veritas investigation that reveals a Google internal email in which one executive told another:
“Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro and Dennis Prager are Nazis.”
Emails published by the independent judicial organization showed how the two executives part of an internal group within Google dedicated to “transparency and ethics” planned to deactivate the suggestion function of the videos.
“I don’t think correctly identifying far-right content is beyond our capabilities. But if it is, why not go with Meredith’s suggestion of disabling the suggestion feature?” one can read in the emails.
But the battle against big tech discrimination has been going on for some years now.
PragerU, a conservative organization founded by Prager for educational purposes, sued Google after the company blocked more than 100 videos for being considered “dangerous” or “derogatory,” according to The Daily Signal.
Videos categorized as restricted [something used for pornographic or violent content] cover a variety of topics, including the Ten Commandments, tolerance, climate change, freedom of expression, and fake news, and tend to last three to five minutes.
“To suggest that PragerU’s content is obscene, violent, hate speech is an absolute insult to the intelligence of the American public and people like yourself, who are willing to enter the important political dialogue,” Peter Obstler, PragerU’s lead attorney, told reporters this summer.
Many conservatives are condemning large technology companies, which control content shared over the Internet, and are jeopardizing the freedom of speech enshrined in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
“Civil dialogue and civil discourse in an open way is the only thing that can keep our democracy going,” Obstler warned.