CENSORSHIP: LBRY founder questions YouTube bans and Twitter “truth”
Censorship by social media companies has become a hot topic in recent months, with YouTube’s removal of “alternative” information on the COVID-19, and President Trump’s high-profile battle over Twitter’s “fact-checking.”
“YouTube's really been the worst. I mean, just like outright demonetizing, outright just deleting, pulling off the network.”
Jeremy Kauffman, the founder and CEO of online video platform LBRY, joined Freedom Media Network host Curt Mercadante for a discussion on censorship and content freedom. LBRY is based on blockchain technology that is decentralized and promises no demonetization or censorship of content.
Kauffman pointed to one of the most notable instances of YouTube censorship, in which the Google-owned social media platform removed the video of an interview, conducted and published by 23ABC News in Bakersfield, CA, with two local physicians (Dan Erickson and Artin Massihi) sharing their COVID-19 testing data and views on the COVID-19 “lockdown” guidelines.
“We quickly remove flagged content that violate our Community Guidelines, including content that explicitly disputes the efficacy of local healthy authority recommended guidance on social distancing that may lead others to act against that guidance," YouTube said in a statement issued to 23ABC. "From the very beginning of the pandemic, we’ve had clear policies against COVID-19 misinformation and are committed to continue providing timely and helpful information at this critical time.”
Kauffman called out YouTube for these actions.
“YouTube's really been the worst. I mean, just like outright demonetizing, outright just deleting, pulling off the network,” he said. “I mean that was ABC News, interviewing licensed medical doctors, six million views, retweeted by Elon Musk. YouTube is saying the standard to communicate on their platform is higher than the standard for practicing medicine, right? Like these people are still licensed doctors.”
Kauffman, who created LBRY because he fell in love with the idea of a shared, global content registry that is owned and controlled by no one, questioned YouTube’s standards.
“As far as I know, they (Erickson and Massihi) are not being investigated by the American Medical Association for malpractice,” he said. “No one is claiming they shouldn't be allowed to practice medicine, but YouTube is claiming they shouldn't be allowed to speak. YouTube is saying the standard to communicate on their platform is higher than the standard for practicing medicine. That's a weird standard.”
He also questioned the practice of social media platforms “fact-checking” users.
Last month, President Trump issued an executive order impacting the liability protections of social media platforms in retaliation for Twitter’s “fact-checking” a tweet by the president that claimed mail-in voting would be subject to fraud.
“I think it's kind of like sophomoric, I guess to think that there's this sort of absolute notion of truth and that Twitter is going to find it,” said Kauffman. “I don't like the way that Twitter did it. I wish my Twitter experience didn't involve that. I don't think having a highly political person fact-check the president on a predictive statement over a dubious topic as you were saying. Like, this is not a cut-and-dried thing. I don't think it's unequivocal that mail-in stuff, the ballots are safe. I don't think it's unequivocally true.”
This type of subjective fact-checking “opens a huge can of worms,” said Kauffman. He also was quick to share his concerns about the federal government involving itself in the regulation of the dissemination of content by private social media companies.
“The government is basically saying these private platforms can't put these messages up, I think that's the most dangerous thing,” he said. “I don't think that will happen.”
You can watch Mercadante’s full discussion with Kauffman by clicking here.