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YouTube Restricts PragerU’s Planned Parenthood Video, Then Reverses Course

Screenshot from PragerU's YouTube video criticizing Planned Parenthood. The Google-owned video platform initially placed this content in "Restricted Mode."
PragerU / YouTube

Conservative digital media organization PragerU tweeted Monday that its latest YouTube video on Planned Parenthood had been restricted soon after it was posted.

PragerU observed that, just hours after it was posted to Google-owned platform YouTube, a video that is narrated by Lila Rose, president of pro-life organization Live Action, was placed in “Restricted Mode.”

In the video, titled What You Need to Know about Planned Parenthood, Rose discusses “deceptions” generated by Planned Parenthood, including its claim to be a “healthcare provider,” and that abortion constitutes only three percent of its services.

Rose says Planned Parenthood is an organization that “is not involved in preserving life,” but “in ending it.”

“Planned Parenthood doesn’t help people plan for parenthood,” she continues. “It helps people escape it.”

YouTube says about its “Restricted Mode”:

Restricted Mode is an optional setting that has been available since 2010, and is used by a small subset of users, such as libraries, schools, and public institutions, who choose to have a more limited viewing experience on YouTube.  Restricted Mode is turned off for viewers by default.

YouTube states that, when viewers have “Restricted Mode” turned on, “potentially mature content will not be shown,” and provides examples of such “mature content,” including “drugs and alcohol;” “sexual situations;” “violence;” “profane and mature language;” and “incendiary and demeaning content.”

YouTube also responds to a question about how to stop the filtering of one’s videos by “Restricted Mode,” with the statement, “If you edit the video, it may be reviewed again by our system. If after reviewing our guidelines you still feel your video should appear in Restricted Mode, please let us know by submitting your feedback.”

In an online petition that has over 450,000 signatures, PragerU, which is run by talk show host Dennis Prager, states, “Conservative ideas are under attack,” and goes on to say that YouTube currently lists over 40 PragerU videos under “Restricted Mode.”

On Tuesday, PragerU tweeted that the restriction of its Planned Parenthood video had apparently been lifted “for the time being”:

The issue of the video’s restricted status comes amid accusations that Google is censoring conservative speech.

As Breitbart News reported, PragerU filed a lawsuit in California in October against the tech giant over the claim Google is violating the First Amendment by placing its YouTube videos in Restricted Mode while videos about similar topics – but posted by liberal sites – are not restricted.

“YouTube has repeatedly censored PragerU on their platform, labeling political videos as ‘restricted’ adult content and even removing a video of ‘a Muslim man describing how he was raised to be anti-Semitic,’ branding the video as ‘hate speech,’” said the report. “After being criticized for their censorship of PragerU videos, YouTube blamed ‘community flagging.’”

Hollywood Reporter also noted in its story about the PragerU lawsuit that Google initially “declined to comment on the lawsuit,” or how its “Restricted Mode” system operates. Eventually, Google responded with the statement:

YouTube is an open platform and, to make it a great place for users, creators and advertisers, we provide different choices and settings. Restricted Mode is an optional feature used by a small subset of users to filter out videos that may include sensitive or mature content. Giving viewers the choice to opt in to a more restricted experience is not censorship. In fact, this is exactly the type of tool that Congress has encouraged online services to provide for parents and others interested in a more family-friendly experience online.

Hollywood Reporter observed Google’s claim that allowing its users the “optional feature” to filter content is not the equivalent of censorship.

The Christian Post also analyzed YouTube’s ad policy and whether it is targeting Christians.

In August, Simon Rogers, data editor at Google News lab, announced that Google would be joining with liberal site ProPublica and Pitch Interactive on a quest to “document hate” through the use of a new “machine learning tool to help journalists covering hate news leverage this data [on hate] in their reporting.”

Breitbart News reported:

The Google/ProPublica coalition partners are all Center-Left Bias or Left Bias including the New York Times, BuzzFeed, Univision News, WNYC, First Draft, The Root, Meedan, New America Media, Latino USA, Ushahidi, The Advocate and 100 Days in Appalachia.

Although the coalition states they will work on civil rights issues with the highly respected University of Miami School of Communications, they also will rely on input from George Soros’ Open Society Foundation-funded and the radically Left Southern Poverty Law Center.

Google states that they launched the Documenting Hate project due to the lack of national data on “hate crimes,” which their Dictionary defines as: “a crime motivated by racial, sexual, or other prejudice, typically one involving violence.” But a Google search under “hate crime” produces “About 10,300,000 results.”

Breitbart News reached out to Google to inquire about the PragerU Planned Parenthood video’s restriction and its change in status.

“Restricted Mode in YouTube is an optional feature used by a tiny subset of users to filter videos that may include sensitive content,” a YouTube spokesperson responded. “The system looks at a number of factors over time to determine what content is available on Restricted Mode, and the content offering may periodically change as a result of additional evaluation by our algorithms.”

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