Back in October of 2016, the Wallstreet Journal published an opinion piece titled, “Warning: This Article Is Educational” with the subheading “YouTube thinks Dennis Prager’s videos may be dangerous.” The piece was briefly picked up by other outlets who derided Google-owned Youtube for its obvious bias and censorship. Then the entire case seemed to disappear for a few years, still- it rages on and should absolutely not be ignored.
Anyone who has come across a PragerU video understands that they are educational, non-controversial, engaging, and Conservative-value oriented. Those last two points are what seems to trouble tech giant Google the most, to produce content that is conservative and digestible/makes sense to larger audiences could potentially turn back some of the cultural/tech domination of the left. These are videos that feature prominent government officials, Ivy League professors, Pulitzer Prize winners, and top American intellectuals sharing educational content FOR FREE; millions of people were understandably interested in these videos and view counts were rapidly rising.
To counter this, Google has slapped warnings and age restrictions on the videos in an Orwellian attempt to steer people away from them; this has obvious ramifications for PragerU, an educational video service that is largely funded through advertising on monopolistic platforms such as YouTube.
The blatant cast of censorship of ideas has dire consequences for the future of free speech online – as discussed at the Social Media Neutrality Panel earlier this week – if these tech giants are able to control nearly all methods of communication online (as they currently do) – then cases of censorship such as this will only get worse before they get better (if at all).
How can you help?
For one, you can make your voice known by signing the petition at StopOnlineCensorship.com. Remember, this is an ongoing battle, not just with Prager but with all conservative news and media online.
From the WSJ:
Tech giants like Google and Facebook always deny that their platforms favor some viewpoints over others, but then they don’t do much to avoid looking censorious. . . . Dennis Prager’s “PragerU” puts out free short videos on subjects “important to understanding American values” — ranging from the high cost of higher education to the motivations of Islamic State. The channel has more than 130 million views. . . . As you might guess, the mini-seminars do not include violence or sexual content. But more than 15 videos are “restricted” on YouTube. . . . This means the clips don’t show up for those who have turned on filtering — say, a parent shielding their children from explicit videos. A YouTube spokesperson told us that the setting is optional and “based on algorithms that look at a number of factors, including community flagging on videos.” . . . PragerU started a petition calling for YouTube to remove the restriction, and more than 66,000 people have signed.