Google CEO Sundar Pichai appeared on “Axios on HBO” Sunday to discuss what the Silicon Valley-based company was doing about all the “hate speech” and “harmful content” that appears on YouTube.
Google has often been accused of allowing YouTube creators to produce content that crosses the line and leftists have pushed for bans on people with whom they disagree (i.e. conservatives). Most recently, this took place with Stephen Crowder’s “Louder with Crowder” channel.
“We rank content based on quality,” Pichai told Axios. “And so we are bringing that same notion and approach to YouTube so that we can rank higher quality stuff better and really prevent borderline content, content which doesn’t exactly violate policies — which need to be removed — but which can still cause harm."
Pichai did not define what he meant by “borderline content” but with him saying it is “content which doesn’t exactly violate polices,” it’s probably safe to say that Google will attempt to be the authoritarian on what is correct or protected by free speech and what is not. This means they can restrict or remove any content they deem as “unsafe” regardless if that is actually the case.
“We are working hard,” he continued. “It’s a hard computer science problem. It’s also a hard societal problem because we need better frameworks around what is hate speech, what’s not, and how do we as a company make those decisions.”
As many on Twitter acknowledged, this could likely mean YouTube will become a place for only the "big news networks" to thrive as the company pushes the “little man” — who has a different viewpoint — to the side.
Nobody asked them to be the internet's savior. Besides every device gives the options to restrict whatever they don't want to see. So they're just playing the holier then thou, and suppressing politics they don't agree with. Better yet people, if you don't like it don't look.— Richard A. Smith (@Raswell1) June 10, 2019
Time will come that only content allowed on YouTube is Network News, Late Night Comedy clips and LoLcats.— Wooden Androyd (@woodenandroyd) June 10, 2019
I think George Orwell predicted Google and called it "the Ministry Of Truth"— David Miller (@DavidMi25817195) June 10, 2019
This is like a network censor reviewing a television script.— mitrebox (@mitrebox) June 10, 2019
Sure it doesn't violate our policies but do we really need to say "master of your domain"?
All information should be put out there. Who decides what we the people should be allowed to look up on Google? Who decides what is restricted? Who decides what is Appropriate? I would like to know who these people are.— speterson (@speterson39) June 10, 2019
I found 1:04 to be troubling. As he talks about societal problems he says "We need better frameworks around what's hate speech and what's not."— Greg (@three_two_zero) June 10, 2019
Who is developing this framework? Google as a company? Or is it more Zuckerberg punting to the government to decide?
This comes as President Trump accuses companies such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter of discriminating against him, meanwhile they maintain they are free of political bias in their decision-making.