Google Has An Actual Secret Speech Police

More than 100 non-government organizations (NGOs) and government agencies around the world help police YouTube for extremist content, ranging from so-called “hate speech” (quotation marks added by Reload) to terrorist recruiting videos.

All of them have confidentiality agreements barring Google, YouTube’s parent company, from revealing their participation to the public, a Google representative told The Daily Caller on Thursday.

via Daily Caller

 

A handful of groups, including the Anti-Defamation League and No Hate Speech, a European organization focused on combating intolerance, have chosen to go public with their participation in the program, but the vast majority have stayed hidden behind the confidentiality agreements. Most groups in the program don’t want to be publicly associated with it, according to the Google spokesperson, who spoke only on background.

YouTube’s “Trusted Flaggers” program goes back to 2012, but the program has exploded in size in recent years amid a Google push to increase regulation of the content on its platforms, which followed pressure from advertisers. Fifty of the 113 program members joined in 2017 as YouTube stepped up its content policing, YouTube public policy director Juniper Downs told a Senate committee on Wednesday.

It’s not just terrorist videos that Google is censoring. Jordan B. Peterson, a professor known for opposing political correctness, had one of his videos blocked in 28 countries earlier this month. A note sent to Peterson’s account said YouTube had “received a legal complaint” about the video and decided to block it.

Peterson used his large social media following to push back, calling out YouTube on Twitter, where he has more than 300,000 followers. YouTube reversed Peterson’s block after another popular YouTuber, Ethan Klein, demanded an explanation on Twitter, where he has more than 1 million followers. Although the original notice said that YouTube was responding to a legal complaint, on Twitter the company gave the impression that the block was erroneous.

The overwhelming majority of the content policing on Google and YouTube is carried out by algorithms. The algorithms make for an easy rebuttal against charges of political bias: it’s not us, it’s the algorithm. But algorithms are designed by people. As noted above, Google’s anonymous outside partners work closely with the internal experts designing the algorithms. This close collaboration has upsides, Google’s representatives say, pointing to advances in combating terrorist propaganda on the platform. But it also provides little transparency, forcing users to take Google’s word that they’re being treated fairly.

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