Don’t let the above title trigger a response, one way or another, on its own. The article is actually about something much more basic, and critical, using the recent Crowder incident as an example. For those who know the name, you may find yourself anywhere on a scale of huge fan, major adversary or somewhere in between. If you don’t know who he is, you may be tempted to form an opinion based on misinformation, bias or both. Either way, we encourage you to dig into this story before coming to a conclusion.
Mob Rule and Growing Censorship
It is unfortunate, and troubling, to see how free speech is being systematically attacked and eliminated. The fact is Social Media Censorship is Everyone’s Loss. We see this in multiple ways. A person’s account may be temporarily suspended or outright banned. We have seen this increasing trend in all the major platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Another route taken by YouTube is to demonetize videos. Those who have huge followings and have relied on the income from their work suddenly find themselves cut off from that income. YouTube may allow the videos to remain but the author no longer receives any revenue for them.
It would be one thing if we saw this take place in any sort of reasonably neutral fashion. But, it doesn’t. It is terribly obvious how politicized it is and how easily one company after another will acquiesce to partisan pressure. Which leads us to consider a phenomenon that seems to be gaining in occurrence despite the supposed free society in which we dwell.
Although it is common and easily recognized, the term to describe it is probably unfamiliar to most of us. “Ochlocracy…or mob rule is the rule of government by mob or a mass of people, or, the intimidation of legitimate authorities.” Rather than treat everyone in a more or less equal and fair manner, social media platforms are allowing small, loud protesters to set policy.
If a user is causing actual harm or presenting an actual threat to another user, one can see it appropriate for the platform to take action. But, all too often in today’s overly sensitive and overtly silly culture, mere complaints of taking offense are enough to result in action. And, that action is now regularly over the top and undeserved.But, all too often in today's overly sensitive and overtly silly culture, mere complaints of taking offense are enough to result in action. And, that action is now regularly over the top and undeserved. Click To Tweet
Unfairly Demonetizing YouTube Videos
Here is some commentary on this situation:
“When Maza lodged his complaints about Crowder — whose actual offense, it should be noted, was occasionally vivisecting Maza’s purported acts of journalism — the powers that be at YouTube did their best impersonation of Pontius Pilate. They found no fault in the man — or not fault sufficient to show he had broken the terms of service. Crowder’s content ‘did not violate our Community Guidelines,’ YouTube said.
“And then, predictably, it changed its mind and caved to the mob, ‘demonetizing’ Crowder’s programming. And YouTube amended its views: ‘Even if a creator’s content doesn’t violate our community guidelines, we will take a look at the broader context and impact, and if their behavior is egregious and harms the broader community, we may take action.’ Which is to say: It doesn’t matter if Steven Crowder follows the rules if the mob hates Steven Crowder.”
Read about this in more detail at Crowder Isn’t a Threat to Public Safety.