The head of product for Google-owned YouTube, Neal Mohan, told Axios there is no conflict between content moderation and profits, and in fact that censoring and demonetizing content is good for business.
Calling YouTube an “important part of the information battleground” (sounds like a step away from information war), Axios asked Mohan about what the tech giant was doing to curb so-called misinformation on the platform, particularly alleged coronavirus misinformation.
On one of the biggest topics at the moment, COVID-19 misinformation, Mohan pointed to both the work that the company has done to enforce its policies and collaborations between creators and health authorities, as well as the dedicated spots YouTube has set aside for authoritative information.
- “I hope that we are perceived as ultimately a positive voice here,” Mohan said.
- Critics, though, point to a vast array of videos that have promoted hesitancy around masks and vaccines. Some were eventually taken down, others have been allowed to remain on the site.
- Mohan noted that the landscape is ever-changing and the company’s work around COVID-19 misinformation is ongoing.
- “The work is never done,” Mohan said. “I have learned that there is always a new vector of misinformation that will pop up.”
The article closes with an eye-watering stat: YouTube’s draconian system of censorship is so effective that only 0.16–0.18% of visitors to the site ever see “rule-violating” content.
YouTube’s abandonment of a commitment to free speech, part of what Google calls a wider “shift towards censorship” on the part of the industry, has led to the rapid rise of alternative platforms that respect their users’ right to broadcast First Amendment protected content.
These competitors include Bitchute, Odyssee and Rumble — the latter of which has attracted high profile creators including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, journalist Glenn Greenwald, and former Democrat presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard.
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election.