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YouTube’s War on InfoWars: Forced Speech And The First Amendment

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YouTube is reportedly going to take down the channel for the controversial website InfoWars on Monday, reports right-wing investigator and provocateur James O’Keefe.

I won’t delve into (nor link to) the content of InfoWars. Readers can access it (and often do so without warning) by going to The Drudge Report, which lists it twice (once as InfoWars, once as Alex Jones) among its newsfeed channels.

Presumably, this action is taken because of some violations of the YouTube terms, guidelines, etc. YouTube is a private service and as such, has its own rights to set its terms. Let’s simply look at YouTube’s stated policies, which I found with some difficulty.

First, from the Policies and Guidelines webpage:

You might not like everything you see on YouTube. If you think content is inappropriate, use the flagging feature to submit it for review by our YouTube staff. Our staff carefully reviews flagged content 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to determine whether there’s a violation of our Community Guidelines.

And those Guidelines say, in relevant part:

Our products are platforms for free expression. But we don’t support content that promotes or condones violence against individuals or groups based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, nationality, veteran status, or sexual orientation/gender identity, or whose primary purpose is inciting hatred on the basis of these core characteristics. This can be a delicate balancing act, but if the primary purpose is to attack a protected group, the content crosses the line. (Emphasis added.)

Now, from a lawyer’s perspective,

Within the Guidelines is YouTube’s Hate Speech policy:

We encourage free speech and try to defend your right to express unpopular points of view, but we don’t permit hate speech.

Hate speech refers to content that promotes violence against or has the primary purpose of inciting hatred against individuals or groups based on certain attributes, such as:

race or ethnic origin
religion
disability
gender
age
veteran status
sexual orientation/gender identity

There is a fine line between what is and what is not considered to be hate speech. For instance, it is generally okay to criticize a nation-state, but if the primary purpose of the content is to incite hatred against a group of people solely based on their ethnicity, or if the content promotes violence based on any of these core attributes, like religion, it violates our policy.

Also, under the heading of “Threats” is the following:

Things like predatory behavior, stalking, threats, harassment, intimidation, invading privacy, revealing other people’s personal information, and inciting others to commit violent acts or to violate the Terms of Use are taken very seriously. Anyone caught doing these things may be permanently banned from YouTube.

Now, taking all of this language, there are some flaws. In short, its because the terms and guidelines are too brief. They fail to give enough warning to users as to what “crosses the line.” That’s because there is too much ambiguity in a lot of single words.

You can criticize this as “overlawyering” and criticize me for being one of those subhuman lawyers. However, almost every subject, verb, adjective and adverb in the terms requires a definition. Look again at just this one sentence. I’ve put in bold what I think is each and every term which has an unclear or ambiguous meaning.

For instance, it is generally okay to criticize a nation-state, but if the primary purpose of the content is to incite hatred against a group of people solely based on their ethnicity, or if the content promotes violence based on any of these core attributes, like religion, it violates our policy.

Each term I’ve highlighted is susceptible to multiple meanings, which in turn exposes YouTube to criticism that it is being arbitrary, unfair or “political” in exercising its own rights.

But here is what you’re missing. YouTube has its own rights of free speech, including the right of free association. Remember the infamous-on-the-Left Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United?

Before the “right wing” cues up the faux outrage machine and further embarrasses conservatives, let’s remember a few general principles.

YouTube is a private company. YouTube is an affiliate of the Google empire, which includes the publicly-traded company known now as Alphabet. But that doesn’t mean the customers, the public, or the government get to tell a private business how to run its business.

The people saying that “YouTube has no business…” or accusing it of “censorship” don’t realize they are arguing for a private business to be controlled by an outside group. Rational people have to think about two questions: First, who would that group be? Second (and more importantly), who decides the first question?

This, my friends, is the road to government oversight and control. Under the rubric of “free speech,” this is the march towards Soviet-style Marxism. Not because YouTube is “censoring” content which is both within its right

So, the critics of YouTube and defenders of (in this case) InfoWars, who want to force YouTube to carry certain content are not defenders of free speech here. They are its attackers. This confusion, and deception are the next steps in paving the road towards authoritarianism and totalitarianism.

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  1. Public Citizen

    March 4, 2018 at 4:39 pm

    The question must eventually be dealt with:
    “At what point does an “internet service” that has a virtual monopoly in a popular area become a defacto “Public Utility” that must of public necessity be regulated as a public utility or else broken up under the Anti-Trust Laws?”
    This question must be dealt with, and soon, in a number of areas of the internet.

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Entertainment and Sports

Twitter suspends Houston Rockets’ account

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Twitter suspends Houston Rockets account

What happened to the Houston Rockets’ Twitter account? Did they Tweet something conservative or Christian? Did they misgender someone? Is this retribution for falling to the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs four out of five of years? Whatever they did, Twitter decided to suspend them, leaving their 2.8 million followers in the dark.

All jesting aside, there are three likely scenarios. They could be the victims of a mass reporting attack in which multiple Twitter accounts report a user in a short period of time, prompting an algorithmic suspension. Or, if they’d been hacked, Twitter may have detected it and shut them down until the real users can regain control and change passwords.

But the most likely culprit is a DMCA takedown complaint that triggers instant temporary suspension. Chances are, they posted a video that included music they didn’t have permission to use. It happens.

The Rockets have not responded to our request for comment.

If you or someone you know gets suspended on social media, take solace in knowing even big organizations like the Houston Rockets can fall victim to the ban-hammer (though I doubt they’ll get the same scorn from Twitter as James Woods).

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News

President Trump’s official campaign launch to be on Father’s Day

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President Trumps official campaign launch to be on Fathers Day

June 16th is a big day for multiple reasons to the President of the United States. It marks the four-year anniversary of then-candidate Trump riding down the golden escalator behind his wife, thumbs up, ready to become President. It happens to be Father’s Day this year, a nice touch for Americans that will certainly be made by leftist media to represent the oppressive patriarchy or something like that. It will also be the day the President officially launches his reelection campaign.

A report this morning by Axios notes that this date may be more symbolic than anything else. Rallies will start before (some have already been held) and after the day many Americans spend with their dads. “In conversations, Trump makes it clear that he thinks of the official kickoff as June 16 — four years to the day since he rode down the gold escalator in Trump Tower to announce his improbable 2016 run.”

Whatever the official day is doesn’t really matter. Reelection is already at the top of mind. The difference between now and his 2016 run is that instead of worrying about stock prices and real estate deals, he’ll be running this campaign against the backdrop of a trade war with China, aggression with Iran, turmoil at the border, and need to keep the economy humming.

He won’t have to worry much about primary season this time, though. Even though Bill Weld is technically in the race, his name has barely been mentioned since he announced his candidacy.

Letting the Democrats eat each other

A huge part of the equation for Trump’s campaign team will be keeping him attacking the right people for the right reasons. Being an incumbent who likes to attack his competitors puts him in a peculiar situation because his attacks can actually help someone emerge. As he continues to hit former Vice President Joe Biden and has softened on attacks against Senator Bernie Sanders, their numbers are heading in the opposite direction. It’s as if his attacks on Biden are fueling Democrats to want to support him more.

His team will have to be strategic in how he uses his tremendous punching power, particularly on Twitter. The last thing they want is for any one candidate to run away with the nomination early. They need to keep the Democrats attacking each other for as long as possible. As long as two or more candidates are close to the top, they’ll not only be prolonging the nomination process and burning through money going after each other, but they’ll also be giving ammunition for the President to use against the eventual nominee.

In less than a month, the President’s team will be in full-blown campaign mode. It also means now is the time for conservatives to start honing our message against the socialist wave of ignorance that his competitors are already starting.

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Guns and Crime

Two separate illegal aliens with child sexual crime felony convictions caught crossing the border again

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Two separate illegal aliens with child sexual crime felony convictions caught crossing the border ag

Thursday was another busy day for border patrol agents. It wasn’t just their standard apprehension and processing of thousands of migrants crossing the border to claim asylum. A handful of convicted criminals were caught trying to secretly cross into the United States, into two child sex offenders.

A 45-year-old Mexican national who had a prior felony conviction for “lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14” in California was captured earlier in the day. Then, a 26-year-old El Salvadoran national who had a prior felony conviction for “child molestation in the first degree” and an active felony warrant for “molestation of a minor” in Washington state was captured with another El Salvadoran national.

Both had been previously deported.

Opinion

Give me one excuse for this. Anyone. Can a single Democrat pushing their doctrine of open borders explain how it’s a good idea to keep border patrol undermanned and under-resourced, block the wall at every turn, and keep laws so weak that of course child rapists want to make their way to a sanctuary city near you.

These aren’t isolated cases.

Every day, we hear of new criminal illegal aliens, previously deported, who are crossing over again to commit heinous crimes like these two child rapists. Why? Because they know leftists will protect, enable, and encourage them.

This is a sickness. No, I’m not talking about the obvious sickness of vile men who find pre-teen children to ruin their lives for the sake of their own sexual kicks. I’m talking about the people on the left who willfully turn a blind eye to the sick crimes of animals like these two.

The saddest part about the left’s embrace of criminal illegal aliens like these two child raping animals is that they will take more offense to me calling them “animals” than to the vile crimes these men committed against children.

Quote

“Democrats have controlled the House for nearly 5 months. Besides supporting infanticide, illegal immigrants, and whining about President Trump, can anyone tell me what they have accomplished?” – Ryan Fournier

Final Thoughts

Border patrol is stretched thin by the migrant crisis, which makes it difficult to apprehend these child sexual predators crossing the border. If they caught two by chance on the same night, how many child molesters are crossing unabated?

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