Susan Wojcicki, the CEO of the Google-owned video-sharing platform YouTube, has received a “Free Expression” award from the Freedom Forum Institute in a virtual ceremony — sponsored by YouTube.
Newsweek reports that YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has received a “Free Expression” award from the Freedom Forum Institute as part of a virtual ceremony which featured YouTube as a “signature sponsor.” A creator from the platform named Molly Burke presented Wojcicki with the award in a video posted to YouTube.
Burke stated: “I’m so excited to be here tonight to present Susan Wojcicki with the Free Expression award. As the CEO of YouTube, Susan is facing some of the most critical issues around free expression today.”
Wojcicki was interviewed during the ceremony and emphasized the importance of free speech and claimed her company works to protect free speech online.
“I’ve just seen the real benefits that freedom of speech has, as well as representing people of all different backgrounds and all different perspectives, and the freedoms that we have, we really can’t take for granted,” she said. “We really have to make sure that we’re protecting them in every way possible. I feel, because of my family history, a deep connection to those freedoms and I’m very thankful for the freedoms that I have.”
Discussing the platform’s attempt to balance people’s right to free speech while reducing “harmful content,” on the platform, Wojcicki stated: “We want to be able to have as diverse and open a platform as possible and represent as many views as possible on the platform, but we also need to make sure there are limits. Since the beginning of YouTube we’ve had community guidelines.”
She added: “From the very beginning, we wouldn’t allow adult content, hate content, dangerous content, all of those types of content could really make it that YouTube is no longer a platform that’s viable for all those different voices out there. As YouTube has become bigger and has had more of an impact, we’ve seen a need to increase what we’re doing from a responsibility standpoint.”
Many were quick to criticize Wojcicki for receiving the award due to YouTube’s history of censorship of content across the political spectrum in recent years. Many have accused YouTube of attempting to make the platform as advertiser-friendly as possible, removing any content that could be considered even mildly offensive.
YouTube CEO won a Free Speech award…sponsored by YouTube. Hahahahhhaahhhahhahahahaaaaaaa pic.twitter.com/QX56hNUnFL
— Matt Orfalea (@0rf) April 19, 2021
Lol, youtube receiving an award for free expression/pro first amendment is Orwellian sh!t. What's next, Facebook getting an award for respecting privacy? https://t.co/PEiT3ZUgMB
— Solidarity ☭ (@Karlmarxhd) April 18, 2021
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address firstname.lastname@example.org