When Google Restricts

When Google Restricts

Ivan Jimenez, News Editor

The Korean War, the First Amendment, hate speech and pornography all have something in common – at least according to Google.

According to a lawsuit filed against Google on Monday Oct. 23 by Prager University, a conservative-leaning nonprofit that produces short, educational videos, YouTube, a subsidiary of Google, has illegally censored conservative material on their website.

YouTube is “unlawfully censoring its educational videos and discriminating against [PragerU’s] right to freedom of speech solely because of Prager’s political identity and viewpoint as a non-profit that espouses conservative views on current and historical events,” according to the suit which was filed in a federal court in San Francisco.

The censorship, according to the suit, consists of placing PragerU videos under “restricted mode,” which attempts to regulate access to “inappropriate” content, especially in schools and public libraries.

But according to Dennis Prager, President of PragerU, the 18 videos which YouTube has restricted are far from inappropriate.

They include videos with topics ranging from the Iraq War, gun control, and western morality. All of which are conservative topics, Prager argues, but nowhere near such a radical level which they ought to be restricted.

But it’s not just Google that’s being accused of censorship.

Facebook, an online social-networking site, is being bombarded with similar allegations, but some of these pose life-or-death consequences.

In Myanmar, a Southeast Asian nation home to a far-right autocratic government, reports accusing the government of ethnic cleansing policies against the Rohingya, a Muslim-minority ethnic group, have recently surfaced.

Many Rohingya have taken to social media, notably Facebook, to call for help. Videos, posts, and profiles specific to the case of ethnic cleansing are being posted.

But according to USA today, Facebook has been accused of censoring Rohingya pleas for help by restricting Rohingya content and blocking their accounts.

This, though, isn’t the first time that Facebook has been criticized for their censorship policies.

Throughout the past month, Facebook’s criteria for censoring content has appeared to be somewhat spotty. For instance, It’s been accused of censoring conservative content while allowing graphic videos such as beheadings and suicides to go on unobstructed on their Livestream feature.

These claims are apparent all over social media, and they’re not likely to end soon. But if Prager wins its lawsuit, other changes will surely follow.