YouTube often censors movies, demonetizes creators, and introduces new censorship guidelines. But in a latest interview, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki claimed that the platform needs to allow “as a lot free speech as we presumably can have.”
Wojcicki made the feedback throughout an interview with Indonesian journalist Najwa Shihab when she was requested for YouTube’s view on governments utilizing rules to curtail free speech. In her response, Wojcicki framed YouTube as a free speech champion.
“Typically, we wanna allow political speech. So…after we do get requests that may contain suppression of political speech, that’s a spot the place…we’re very…hesitant or immune to eradicating it,” Wojcicki stated.
She continued by including the caveat that “each case will depend on what’s occurring” earlier than making a fair bolder declare about YouTube’s supposed free speech values:
“We wish to allow folks to precise their factors of view and allow as a lot free speech as we presumably can have.”
Wojcicki adopted up by claiming that YouTube additionally stands up without spending a dime speech towards non-democratically elected governments.
“When you, for instance, have a non-democratically elected authorities and so they’re asking us to take away content material that may be suppressing free speech of people who find themselves being persecuted in a roundabout way, that’s a spot…the place it might be tougher for us to…take away that content material,” Wojcicki stated. “We’d stick with it.”
Shihab pressed Wojcicki on her purported free speech stance by asking the YouTube CEO whether or not she believes in censorship. Shihab steered that censorship might be counterproductive in terms of preventing “misinformation” and that having a free circulate of data somewhat than censorship might be a greater answer.
Regardless of claiming that YouTube needs to allow as a lot free speech as potential earlier within the interview, Wojcicki responded to this query by saying: “There are strains that we draw that we expect…don’t make sense for us to have on our platform.”
The YouTube CEO stated that grownup content material was one of many first classes that YouTube banned as a result of permitting it might have modified the character of YouTube. Nonetheless, she continued by describing different vaguer classes of content material which can be banned to appease advertisers:
“If we’ve a whole lot of content material that’s seen as undesirable or not supporting society or not being accountable, we’ll additionally see pullback from our promoting neighborhood. So…we wanna do the appropriate factor however we additionally as a enterprise, I imagine, function very in a different way than say the web as a complete the place folks can go and submit their info.”
This isn’t the primary time Wojcicki and different high-ranking YouTube executives have tried to border YouTube as a free speech platform.
Final yr, Wojcicki was given a free expression award from a pro-First Modification group at an awards ceremony sponsored by YouTube. She additionally beforehand stated that celebrating freedom of speech is a “core worth” at YouTube. And earlier this yr, YouTube’s Chief Product Officer, Neal Mohan, claimed that YouTube is an “open platform” the place anybody can share concepts “with out gatekeepers.”
Regardless of these claims from its executives, YouTube’s actions inform a special story. In Q2 2022, YouTube eliminated greater than 1,000,000 movies for violating its far-reaching guidelines round “hate speech,” “harassment,” “dangerous” content material, and “misinformation.” This quarter, YouTube has continued to censor common creators and journalists and replace its censorship guidelines.