Conspiracy theory buffs often turn to YouTube to find the various “truths” of this world that “somebody” doesn’t want us to know about. One of the most popular conspiracy theories over the last two decades has been the 9/11 truther movement which claims one or more of various organizations ranging from the Israelis to Vice President Dick Cheney’s shadow government were responsible for the terrorist attacks of 2001.
Now, YouTube is cracking down on those theories by making them virtually impossible to find. They’re not deleted. They’re simply no longer being recommended. While the company claims they can still be found through search, I had a hard time finding any. Even a search for “9/11 truther movement” had a disclaimer at the top from Encyclopedia Britannica followed by a list of videos that either make fun of the movement or attempt to debunk it.
A thread of Reddit has over 2500 points in the r/conspiracy subreddit.
It’s not just 9/11. The site has also decided to stop recommending anything associate with the flat earth movement or magical cures.
This may be controversial to say, but I think it’s conspicuous that the site chose to lump in the 9/11 truther movement with flat earthers and miracle cures. It’s as if they’re trying to classify these fringe groups together.
I’m not a 9/11 truther, but I’ll acknowledge that there are clearly interesting aspects of this conspiracy theory that should make us ask questions. I would say it’s more akin to the JFK assassination than to the flat earthers.
Censorship of materials that are not illegal is a dangerous slope for any company, but it’s their company. YouTube has the right to show or censor anything that doesn’t break the law. Of course, that means they’re a content company, not just a platform.