youtube prison
YouTube has grown so much that it needs new rules to handle "bad actors," its chief product officer claims. The company recently announced it would block racist content and disinformation amid accusations of biased censorship.

Comment: In practice, this means it will block anything critical of the Israeli state, and any alternative news that may happen to correlate with news provided by Russians - among other things.

"YouTube has now grown to a big city. More bad actors have come into place. And just like in any big city, you need a new set of rules and laws and kind of regulatory regime," Neal Mohan told AFP.

Comment: Not when you're imagining crimes where none exist.

The video platform and other tech companies are facing scrutiny and calls for regulation for their apparent failure to shut down content promoting hate speech, disinformation and the exploitation of minors. They are also accused of biased censorship which silences free speech, and of failing to enforce their own rules.

"We want to make sure that YouTube remains an open platform because that's where a lot of the magic comes from, even though there may be some opinions and voices on the platform that I don't agree with, that you don't agree with," Mohan said.

The company has faced a series of recent controversies, including an "Adpocalypse" (when major advertisers pull their ads) when it was revealed that an algorithm was directing users to videos of children which pedophiles were using to express their sexual thoughts in the comments and to share links to child porn. Many of the videos were monetized.

Google, which owns YouTube, reached a multimillion dollar settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission last week over alleged violations of children's data privacy laws on the video site. In June, conservative YouTuber Stephen Crowder's channel was demonetized following backlash over him making homophobic remarks about Vox journalist Carlos Maza, who accused the company of failing to enforce its harassment rules. The move angered Crowder's fans who accused YouTube of silencing free speech, and added fuel to criticism that the platform has a liberal bias which unfairly targets right-wing views.

Mohan suggested 'positive discrimination' could be applied to "authoritative sources like AFP or CNN or BBC or the AP or whoever," which raises an issue already flagged by independent media channels that have grown large audiences on the platform. They claim that their content is sometimes buried in search results and their subscribers don't see their new content, while establishment MSM organizations are heavily promoted by YouTube.

YouTube's efforts to address criticisms, and calls for regulation, in the form of blocking and shutting down accounts, have at times notably missed the mark. The site was criticized for banning a number of media channels, like and TeleSur, and in 2017 it deleted channels that had documented airstrikes in conflicts. It has also come under fire for bowing to Israeli pressure and blocking a video, negatively critical of Israel, in 28 countries.