YouTube CEO Neal Mohan has a post up on the company blog just in time to, well in advance, reiterate the giant platform’s policies regarding the upcoming elections.
Even though Mohan’s “letter” is supposed to deal with the “four big bets for 2024,” the bit concerning the elections is of most interest, given the ramifications of YouTube’s previous and continued restrictive approach and unprecedented levels of censorship.
Just in case anyone worried things might improve, the post reassures them: YouTube will use its massive resources and the way the platform is structured, such as search and recommendations, to wipe out what it chooses to consider “hate speech” and at the same time “boost authoritative sources” even more.
This will be done when users search for topics related to the elections. Mohan spends a good while talking up the importance of creators and how YouTube intends to make their YouTube businesses even better.
But there is one glaring failure by omission in this pitch: explaining what happens to creators and their content and channels, often built for years, when they cross the sometimes invisible censorship line drawn by Google’s video behemoth.
What happens is demonetization, deplatforming – “disappearing.”
Finally Mohan addresses (obviously not framing it that way) how the censorship machine – the one responsible for destroying many creators – works when facing users, and what YouTube’s plans on that front are for 2024.
Tucked in the section about “protecting creator economy” and the obligatory “think of the children” bit, the YouTube CEO writes:
“Another way we uphold our responsibility is connecting people with high quality information. This is more important than ever as elections take place across the globe – more than 50 countries will hold elections this year.”
Mohan repeats what’s highly likely contained in some memo circulated to the usual Big Tech/government collusion participants.
It might go something like this: “When talking about 2024 elections and how you’re going to censor around them, mention the many ballots happening around the world, rather than focusing on, or even mentioning, the only one that really matters to us – the US one.”
The YouTube figurehead goes on to say that the platform is “ensuring that when people look for election news on YouTube, authoritative sources are prominent in their searches and recommendations.”
No details are given as to how YouTube is “ensuring” this.
But, Mohan is defiant about the past years’ often shocking levels of censorship, and he has his own “language” to describe it – and leaves no room for doubt that the trend will continue.
“We spent years investing in a playbook to responsibly manage content on YouTube including longstanding, rigorously enforced policies against hate speech, incitement to violence, election interference, and more. We quickly evolve and adapt when new challenges emerge, and we’ll do so again (…),” Mohan writes.
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