Freedom of Speech vs. Terrorism on YouTube

by keif on September 13, 2008

So Mark @ Mashable wrote about YouTube updating their community guidelines against Hate speech.

He points out the obvious – people on the internet are retarded and this change means they are censoring us all, and we are fucked because all censorship is evil, and they have won because they can’t say their evil words online.

Freedom of speech is absolute.

If we can’t beat them without silencing their message, we obviously
aren’t being convincing enough to those they are converting. Fight them
with our own free speech and expression.

Overall – it’s a good read. YouTube doing a political nod (gee, just like Google did for China, and then did with Law Enforcement Agencies).

My only real issue with the article is the wrap-up:

We Need to be Smart About This
As Uncle Ben used to say, with great power comes great responsibility… If we want to keep it safe from the grubby paws of governmental intervention, companies like Google must implement and enforce standards
of policing the community.  Otherwise, the government will do that for
us, and I think I speak for all of us when I say we do not want that.

Google isn’t the little shop down the street. They’re a huge-ass corporation. If MSN was doing this people would be calling for Bill Gates head. If Steve Jobs did it, people would make shiny new logos promoting how innovative and forward thinking he’s being.

Instead, YouTube (which was purchased by Google) is taking it into their own hands. This shows the error of their “Do No Evil” slogan – nothing is really black and white. They can do something that a lot of people can consider evil – collecting user data, censoring hate speech, censoring anti-hate speech.

I do not welcome our new Internet Overlords.

Benjamin Franklin once said,

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

We continue to do so, and turn a blind eye to it. We say it’s for the best. It’s better this way. Think of the children. To me, this just shows how freaking worthless our rights are becoming. Services talk about how they’re for everything, but what’s going to happen in the future? For a citizen to express their discontentment, they’ll have to make a video, encrypt it, send it to a friend over seas to upload it to a “video sharing site” hosted on a derilect oil tanker in international waters that’s under siege by the U.S. Government for posting a video of someone saying “The Bill of Rights is an illusion.”

So what – how did I get all of this off a little YouTube censorship? Because Google was supposed to be that Little Big company. They’re supposed to be those guys that got big being good, making Microsoft look foolish for ever putting DRM on your computer. Instead they’re slowly transforming into “will this be good for the company?” type double-speak they can throw around in marketing and PR to make themselves look good.

How long until Google starts telling you what to write on your blog? “You said not nice things about Google, so we’re giving you a PR of 1, unless you delete those articles. By the way, we bought the rights to your domain, so when it expires, it’s ours unless you comply.”

Those who have the power, make the rules. Those that get the information can make their power. I know, I know, a bit paranoidal-freakish, but hey, political season stupidity always riles me up.

  • Mark “Rizzn” Hopkins

    Hey. First of all, let me say how happy I am to see someone riffing on a policy post I did at Mashable that isn’t trying to tear me to pieces. It warms the cockles of my heart. :-)

    I’ll say this, though, you’re absolutely right. Lieberman was right to want these guys off YouTube, Malkin was right to refute them with their videos (as were many others, I’m learning from other commenters), and YouTube/Google is just plain wrong, wrong, wrong on most things when it comes to censorship.

    I’ve been riding YouTube/Google really hard since I started seeing a pattern earlier this year, but I tried to ease up in the rhetoric on this one, since when I come down too hard on Google, for some reason I get called a fascist (I have no idea what the connection is, just that it happens).

    Google does quality work. They also have a modern day hippie mindset and Paul Bucheit’s “don’t be evil” taped to their company motto. This garners them too much good will.

    I hope that more folks will start holding their feet to the fire on this sort of stuff. The Islamic terrorism genre isn’t the only area where they really fail in their duties to uphold free speech and common decency.

    I’ll keep calling them out as long as you do, deal?

  • keif

    Inn all honesty, I’d rather criticize and question than try to rip to pieces. Without an active dialogue/knowledge of the person it’s hard to really tear it pieces. So thanks for the compliment and not tearing *me* to pieces.

    I *love love love* that you call them out. More people should call out companies that do things – in the individuals eye – as hypocritical, as they put forth a face (i.e. “Do No Evil”) that is vague enough to be interpreted a google plus ways. I *think* it’s one way. you may see it as a variation of the same way, and reader X can see it another. That’s the problem with generic company policy like that.

    Islamic terrorism genre is scary, but the psycho “Jesus Camps” scare the bejeezus out of me as well, but I haven’t sought out either genre on youtube – I am not interested in the latest jihad, nor am I interested in the latest brainwashing of American youth that’s just as bad (‘kill yourself for Jesus, kids, it’s what God wants). I don’t search it, but it exists, and I like knowing that if in ten years I want to learn about it, I can, as scary as that is.

    I wish Google/YouTube/the internet in general had a better rating system. My son (okay, he’s one and can’t type yet, I digress) doesn’t need to see this, but at a point in his life he should be able to research it for himself (with adequate knowledge being passed to myself, so I can help explain it, or at least have more information available to him) if he so desires.

    I don’t like the blatant disregard for knowledge we’re giving it. Ignore it and it’ll go away is just wrong. But I digress again…

    I’m with you. You keep caling them out on it, I’ll keep backing you up and raising questions. :-)

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