Wednesday, June 05, 2019

YouTube announces a purge or demonitization of a lot of political content, among controversy associated with a Vox journalist; Russian trolls may be using American blogs

 I was “on the road” today, and the mice played.

Seriously, YouTube (on its Creator Blog) announced a policy that will demonetize a lot of political content on YouTube and remove content that promotes “ethnic supremacy” (mostly white nationalism in the US and Europe). The blog post is “Preventing Harm to the Broader YouTube Community”. YouTube says it will also shawdowban marginal content, such as claims that major historical events didn’t happen. Would Logan Paul’s satire about Flat Earthers get downgraded?

There is a lot of detail here.  Look at the twitter feeds of Carlos Maza, Tim Pool, and Ford Fischer.  I’ll have to come back to some of this again.  There is a theory that Vox (Carlos’s employer) is doing this to force YouTube to demonetize low cost independent journalists who are seriously eroding larger established companies ability to make revenue and causing layoffs.

One of the problems is the idea that only safe way to handle domestic extremism (especially white supremacist ideology) is to quarantine it, to keep people from talking about it in order to look smart themselves or to make money on their channels. Some of Maza’s tweets suggest he believes that merely giving an extremist a voice at all, like an interview on a news clip, will lead to immature or mentally unstable people back into gun violence – and then we get back to the activism of David Hogg and his friends.
In fact, Ford Fischer (owner of News2Share) reports that his channel was demonitized almost immediately after the announcement, and one of two of his videos were removed. 

I personally think the public is safer if people know what has been said in a rally in a public place.
But there is an issue with defining “trusted content providers” which, in the case of independent individuals, sounds like social credit, making sure that indie providers don’t behave in such a way as to make extremists feel that the indie providers will give them attention if they protest and propagate their views.

After the recent Facebook Purge 4.0 I feared a YouTube Purge 2.0 was coming.  It’s here.

Before the news about the Purge came on my cell phone (as I left a movie in Woodbridge), I had (at a Starbucks before a movie) seen an NBC story about the trolls at the Internet Research Agency in Russia. I’ve noticed that three of my 16 Blogger entities (Bill Retires, Bill on Major Issues, and Identity Theft) have much higher per-post access counts than the others, and justified by Analytics.  
That could suggest that Russian or even Chinese bots could be accessing them for use in their own internal propaganda, for example, low birth rates and social security as an issue transposed to Russia.  
This is disturbing.

Update:  June 6 (on "Voxadpocalypse")

The Verge (a Vox imprint) has an article by Elizabeth Lopatto discussing further actions YouTube could consider. 

YouTube has a page on advertiser-friendly policies.  YouTube says a content creator should voluntarily flag controversial videos for no-ads to keep his channel monetized. That means that a creator would need to create a lot of non-controversial content and earn ad revenue from that to pay for the controversial content.

Again, some of the important policy or news-based independent channels do this for a living (for their owners).  I don't.  That creates even another set of problems that I have taken up before and will have to revisit again.  "Adsense" sometimes won't display ads on Blogger posts with more sensitive topics.

Here are the hate speech policies with examples.  Most of them are straightforward.  But there can be nit-picky problems.  For example, in a real world, transgender-ism has to be recognized as a medical issue before insurance will pay for treatment and surgery, which is what most liberals want. There are a couple of other logical fallacies there if you look for them.

(June 7: Note:  I just replaced the wrong link on the YouTube blog post: I had cached an older link.) 

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