Culture

Banning Hatred and Burning Books – YouTube removes 58 million “inappropriate” videos

"Burning books wasn’t just wrong because they were burning all the good ones. Piling up evil books and setting them on fire closes windows that would have allowed us a perspective into the minds of others."

YouTube recently removed 58 million videos that they deemed either hateful or inappropriate for their viewers. Why? They violate their “Community Guidelines.” You can read more about that here. A couple reasons cited were violent extremism or child safety problems.

The child safety problems I understand — child pornography, or anything in that realm, does not fall into any of the categories that I’m about to talk about, and does not serve the purpose I’m about to discuss. But that wasn’t the only thing that was deleted.

Now, onto the censorship of the rest of it:

Let’s say that all of these channels that have been banned are bad and evil and propagating hatred at every turn, and let’s forget about the banned channels that weren’t evil but just weird or different. Let’s also forget about the channels containing weird, borderline porn encouraging pretty heinous behavior in contrast to what was censored.

First of all: I’m not lamenting many of the channels banned — that is, I’m not feeling sorry for some of those people who no longer have a platform to spew their insanity. There was some really bad stuff in there, and I’m sure plenty slipped through the cracks. There were also some satire or simply weird channels that took a hit. But for a moment, let’s assume all of the banned channels were on the side of evil like they might have you believe – let’s give YouTube that (undue) credit.

I still ask the question: how can you fight an enemy if you don’t know anything about them?

Burning books wasn’t just wrong because they were burning all the good ones. Piling up evil books and setting them on fire closes windows that would have allowed us a perspective into the minds of others. For example, I’m not a flat-earther — and the assertion is absolutely ridiculous — but if I were speaking to one in earnest, I would want to know where they’re coming from. I’d rather be armed with the information garnered from my own research, and confront the problem head on instead of burning all the flat-earth books and hoping the problem resolves itself.

Information is not a disease. You don’t catch the religious extremist bug or the Nazi bug in the way that you inadvertently catch a cold. Information is more like a weapon — it can be used for good or evil, it just depends on who’s wielding it and how. Seizing information (censorship and/or book burning) that is “wrong” and distributing only what you think is “right” consolidates all of that power to the small group of people in charge of making those decisions. And there is very little in this world that is more powerful than information.

Don’t get me wrong — I’m not calling for government intervention. YouTube is a private entity and can do as they please; I’m simply highlighting a major ethical breach in YouTube’s latest actions. People can vote with their dollars and their time, it’s one of the great ways we can control our environment in today’s world. Like voting, a singular voice of dissent probably won’t matter a whole lot, but a bunch of singular voices of dissent are what make tangible change.

Whatever you choose to do with this information, YouTube’s latest move is fraught with all sorts of ethical dilemmas. It cripples those who would learn about opposing ideas that might be harmful to others, so they might take action against them. It builds this idea that we live in some fictitious social media dream-world of smiles and sunshine — a world that doesn’t exist, but that distracts us from hard truths.

We try so hard to build this facade for ourselves, and many of us seem to think that if we just believe in utopia hard enough, one will appear. But that’s not the case — the world is full of violence, racism, sexism, power-hungry politicians, socialists who would take advantage of you, capitalists who would take advantage of you, people who would eat you alive because of your political affiliation or religion… that is to say, there are a lot of people doing bad things out there. I’m not here to tell you who’s bad and who you need to worry about — I’m just saying that if you believe someone is in the wrong, you need to make every effort to learn who they are and why they feel the way they feel — “know your enemy” type stuff.

Even if you have the belief that every video that has been booted was part of some big, conspiratorial ring of evil, censorship should still not be the answer. The FBI learned a whole lot about serial killers when they decided to start taking them seriously and discover what made them tick, instead of just writing them off as evil criminals. In combat, if you’re going to defeat an enemy on the battlefield it helps to know a thing or two about them.

Like it or not, YouTube is one of the biggest influencers in today’s world. It has a significant hold on the narratives that get pushed, and they are beginning to show an outright, unabashed interest in controlling that narrative. Who decides what’s “wrongthink” and what’s okay to look at? As our world delves further into the digital realm, these are things we need to be aware of and take action against.

The views expressed here are not necessarily the views held by The Freq, or employees therein.

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JoyB
JoyB
1 year ago

Don’t forget, when you ban ideas, they tend to go underground and fester. And who died and put YouTube in charge of thought? I’m perfectly capable of making up my own mind.

Miche
Miche
1 year ago

Love this!! With one tiny caveat that, to be honest, I’m still noodling through. Ideas really can be dangerously seductive, even for those who start with the best of intentions. Those book-burners and content-banners who think that information is powerful and destructive in the wrong hands…..aren’t wrong. I’m not at all advocating for destroying books or videos or statues or whatever is on the wrong side of popular from one day to the next. Just mulling over the other side of the coin, and the level of care and responsibility to instill in upcoming generations to…mmm…keep seeking a fuller context… Read more »

Mic-Mac
Mic-Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Miche

Love ya Michelle because you really help me to think outside the box. Great comment.

Miche
Miche
1 year ago
Reply to  Mic-Mac

<3

Mason
Mason
1 year ago
Reply to  Miche

It is already happening though. The Guardian wrote up an article the other day, where even liberal professors are becoming alarmed and hamstrung by PC efforts to identify “trigger” material in books, like “Catcher in the Rye”. They are lamenting their inability to teach critical thinking, since students can bow out so they won’t be offended. Instead of fires, the far left and PC correctness is/are using “whiteout” (trigger warnings) to the same end. Just relaying something I read that goes to your point of going to far and not being judicious. Also, my favorite logic problem for flat earther’s… Read more »

Miche
Miche
1 year ago
Reply to  Mason

Mason, I kind of feel like “it” is always happening. Waaaaay back when I was in grade school, people were trying to ban some of my favorite books–A Wrinkle in Time, The Outsiders, To Kill A Mocking Bird, A Light in the Attic, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (among many others). Further back, in the 1962 version of The Music Man, poor Marian the Librarian had to contend with fussy gossipy busy bodies bent on banning the old classics of Chaucer, Rabelais, and Balzac. In the 1950s, McCarthy went on a witch hunt for anyone who had ideas about communism in… Read more »

Mason
Mason
1 year ago
Reply to  Miche

To Kill a Mocking Bird, dear lord, I love that book. How could someone find anything wrong with it? (rhetorical question.)

Miche
Miche
1 year ago
Reply to  Mason

RIGHT??! I used to think that it was the racial hatred and other social issues that people didn’t want to face, even in fiction. Now that I’m older, I wonder if it’s the obvious heresy that a lawyer could be honorable and fair-minded…. 😉

susanb01
1 year ago

Censorship is an issue rife with…issues. Censorship is good when the outcome of certain information is determined to bring about criminal actions, or violent actions, or lead to abnormal behaviors that go against the health and physical welfare of others. I’m thinking hard porn, how to become an expert serial killer, mass murderer, pedophile, or trafficker for fun and profit. Or maybe a how to on building your own little personal nuclear bomb. Aside from that, it is up to parents to monitor what their children see and hear, and it is up to adults to be able to use… Read more »

LPD256
1 year ago
Reply to  susanb01

Right on Susan. Opposing viewpoints, honest debate in all forms, whether verbal or the written word, can be educational. But emotions have caused us to draw lines in the sand. If we surround ourselves with only those that agree, if we watch only one news channel on cable, if we only read literature or press we agree with and eliminate any honest discourse, we are destined to be opinionated morons, in my non-moronic opinion. I struggle with hate filled rhetoric in all fashion. Print, speech, videos, or whatever medium. But we have a bill of rights. And laws against trafficking,… Read more »

yankeepapausmc
yankeepapausmc
1 year ago

Master Luke, During WWI high schools and colleges in the U.S. were encouraged to… and many did… stop teaching German. (“We’ll show them Krauts…”) (“Anybody in the platoon speak German?”) Here in the Land of the Free some communities have tried to ban (in schools…and sometimes even in libraries) books such as “Catcher in the Rye”, “Diary of Anne Frank”, and “Huckleberry Finn…” More than three decades ago I saw a gentleman interviewed on a “60 Minutes” type program. His “profession” was rewriting “objectionable” books… Contracted by school boards and others… Can’t remember all the titles… but Huckleberry Finn (the… Read more »

susanjh01
susanjh01
1 year ago
Reply to  yankeepapausmc

“Where they burn books, they will also ultimately burn people.” Very prescient words.

LPD256
1 year ago
Reply to  yankeepapausmc

Always well done, one more time YP

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