On June 18 YouTube removed from its platform an interview Jordan Peterson conducted with RFK, Jr. YouTube claimed the video violated its COVID-19 disinformation policy.
This is the second RFK, Jr., video YouTube has removed recently. May this be a sign that we are at the beginning of a coordinated censorship operation like that which we saw during the 2020 election?
Recall that the Twitter files revealed that in the runup to the 2020 presidential election social media companies coordinated with the FBI to censor factual information about Hunter Biden’s laptop. This coordinated censorship initiative interfered with the 2020 election; people who would have switched their vote from Biden if they had known about the contents of the laptop were deprived of the opportunity to do so.
In light of this history, the fact that YouTube is now censoring a presidential candidate during the runup to the 2024 presidential primary raises the following questions:
- Has the FBI been in communication with YouTube regarding the removal of these videos? Has it pressured YouTube to remove them?
- Several years ago Google and the BBC co-founded the Trusted News Initiative (TNI). TNI is a consortium of news organizations that includes most major American mainstream media outlets. Nominally, TNI members coordinate their efforts to fight “disinformation”. In reality TNI members coordinate their efforts to remove information that contradicts establishment narratives. Are TNI members, including YouTube, coordinating their censorship of Kennedy?
- Did YouTube really remove the video because of its claims about COVID-19? Or, is YouTube simply using that reason as an excuse to remove the video? If Peterson were to remove from the video the vaccine information that it objects to, would YouTube then permit him to re-upload the edited video?
- Those in power typically attempt to control speech because they wish to control behaviors the speech inspires. By removing the RFK, Jr., videos, which behaviors is YouTube trying to prevent viewers from engaging in?
These are all reasonable, appropriate questions. But what are the chances that YouTube will exhibit a genuine openness and transparency and actually answer any of them?
The chances are slim. YouTube’s leadership has demonstrated little interest in freedom of expression. Alphabet co-founder Sergey Brin, in a leaked video of the company’s first meeting after the 2016 election, told Alphabet employees that the election had shown “…many people apparently don’t share many of the values that we have.” He then vowed to do something about that.
It appears that Alphabet is still doing what it can to ensure that those who don’t share Brin’s values are silenced.
Perhaps some YouTube whistleblower will eventually emerge to answer the above questions. It’s the whistleblowers who understand the benefit society experiences when all viewpoints are put forth into the marketplace of ideas. These rare whistleblowers believe the benefit is so great that they are willing to risk the retribution of those who disagree with them…apparently.