A reminder that we now live at the mercy of sometimes mindless, sometimes ideologically-hostile, internet oligopolies
Ever since YouTube without any warning took down Legal Insurrection’s YouTube account in January 2017, I’ve been well aware of the power liberal-leaning high tech oligopolies have over our ability to communicate with each other. The account was restored after a fairly massive news coverage of the takedown.
That wake up call has come into further focus in the past year, after repeated instances of non-liberal voices being stifled and shut down in a variety of social media locations.
In August 2017, I wrote, Gathering Storms And Threats to Liberty:
Attempts to induce corporations to silence conservatives are nothing new. We have seen years of pressure tactics from groups such as Media Matter to shut down voices such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity by pressuring and harassing advertisers. Campaigns are currently underway to force advertisers away from websites such as Breitbart and Gateway Pundit.
As discussed in many posts, this tactic can be effective when highly organized because major corporations are scared to death of bad publicity in general, but particularly bad publicity that could find it accused of supporting racism or other -isms. So the easy decision is to drop the advertising, rather than face protesters outside headquarters and in social media.
That tactic now has gone to a completely different level with attempts to intimidate internet hosting companies and companies that provide internet infrastructure to cut off access to the internet. So far, the effort has been focused on the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer. People might not care that The Daily Stormer is taken down, but the history of leftist tactics show that the target universe will expand dramatically and it will not be long before efforts are directed, as they are now for advertisers, at mainstream conservative and right-of-center websites….
Being cut off from domain registrars and other aspects of the internet backbone is something we expect from totalitarian governments. Now that power is in the control of almost-uniformly left-wing corporate managers.
“Hate” lists prepared by the Southern Poverty Law Center and ADL are being weaponized by these oligopolies to target non-liberal speech, and to smear right-of-center speech as “hate speech.” In my 9th Anniversary post in October 2017 I noted Legal Insurrection is 9 years old, and filled with dread:
Imagine living in a repressive country in which the government blocked access to and suppressed internet content. You don’t need to move. It’s coming here but from private industry. This is, in many ways, more dangerous than government suppression of free speech because at least in the U.S. the government is subject to the First Amendment, and can be voted out of office.
Brandon Morse at Redstate has a recent post summing up some recent instances, The Censorship of Conservatives on the Internet Is Approaching Critical Levels of Bad. Robert Tracinski of The Federalist has a good Twitter thread on how Twitter and Facebook have recentralized control in the hands of people who are hostile to conservatives:
It’s not as if I had forgotten about the perilous times we live in relying on the internet oligolopies. But just in case, YouTube decided to remind me by taking down a video from the Legal Insurrection account and issuing a Community Guidelines strike. Two more such strikes in the next 3 months, and we could lose the account again.
This is part of the notice I received by email:
Hi Legal Insurrection,
As you may know, our Community Guidelines describe which content we allow – and don’t allow – on YouTube. Your video “Palestinian Child Exploitation for the Cameras” was flagged for review. Upon review, we’ve determined that it violates our guidelines. We’ve removed it from YouTube and assigned a Community Guidelines strike, or temporary penalty, to your account….
This is the first strike applied to your account. We understand that users seldom intend to violate our policies. That’s why strikes don’t last forever – this strike will expire in three months. However, it’s important to remember that additional strikes could prevent you from posting content to YouTube or even lead to your account being terminated.
The notice provided links to “acknowledge” the notice and to appeal. I’ve done so.
The video in question was used in a post about how Palestinian videographers and their supporters set up confrontations between children and soldiers in order create videos that misleadingly make it seem that the confrontation was spontaneous and initiated by the Israelis. The Tamimi Clan of Nabi Saleh is notorious for such tactics.
In this video, a Palestinian father pushes his very young child towards Israeli police and yells at them to shoot the child. The Israelis don’t do any such thing, and in fact, treat the child gently, giving him a “high five” and sending him back to his father, who also was shouting for the child to throw rocks.
I covered the video in this post, VIDEO: Disgusting Palestinian child exploitation for the cameras:
I have documented how some Palestinians, such as Bassem Tamimi, have created an industry of exploiting children for the cameras in a very dangerous way.
They have the children confront soldiers with the cameras rolling, hoping for a reaction and viral video or image. The video and images are crucial in the propaganda war on Israel.
Here is another example. A young child, maybe 3 years old, was photographed heroically confronting Israeli border police. It had all the hallmarks of a viral shot, tweeted by anti-Israel Twitter account Abbs Winston and retweeted by “Hamas Lawyer” Stanley Cohen and over 150 others:
But the image of the child is not what it seems.
I then went through the video frames to show what actually happened.
The video was shared widely on social media, including in this tweet by the former IDF spokesperson:
— LTC (R) Peter Lerner (@LTCPeterLerner) July 30, 2016
As part of my post I uploaded the video to YouTube and embedded it in the post so people could see for themselves.
The video on YouTube garnered over 900,000 views and over 1000 comments before YouTube disabled it:
The basis for the “strike” and takedown was that the video violated the policy on “violent or graphic content”:
Yet there is NO VIOLENCE in the video. NONE. To the contrary, the video shows the Israelis not being violent despite the provocation. There also are no graphic images of violence. Clearly, there was no violation of the policy.
The video was reported by someone trying to take it down. But YouTube supposedly reviews such reports. Either the reviewer was a mindless robot, or the reviewer was ideologically motivated. But there is no way a serious review could have resulted in the video being taken down under the policy on violent and graphic content, since there WAS NO VIOLENCE.
I tweeted out the problem to YouTube on Twitter, and actually received a response telling me to appeal:
.@YouTube took down this video exposing Palestinian child exploitation used in our reporting, and issued a community guidelines strike against us. Had almost 1 million views before taken down. Please restore it @TeamYouTube https://t.co/wSSF885geA https://t.co/6nEFGUF8kI
— Legal Insurrection (@LegInsurrection) March 17, 2018
— Legal Insurrection (@LegInsurrection) March 17, 2018
Thanks for reaching out! If you believe the content was removed in error, you can appeal the strike on your account. Here's more info: https://t.co/UDrVzmuJwH
— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) March 17, 2018
You will know when the video is restored when the shadow image in this embed disappears and the original video is playable:
Hopefully YouTube will restore the video, though it has not done so as of this writing. Whether its a short-term takedown or long term strike, its a reminder that we now live at the mercy of sometimes mindless, sometimes ideologically-hostile internet oligopolies.
Update 3-18-2018: The video has been restored.DONATE
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