YouTube Can Legally Censor Content And Why This Is Very Important

Torah from Sinai will be turning its website into a platform and outlet for the dissemination of information that may not be covered by mainstream media. The viewpoint will be relevant to people who have an interest in Jewish Continuity, pro-Israel and generally in line with what is commonly referred to as “the right”. Although Torah from Sinai’s mission, as stated on our site, seeks to address issues that should unite people on the left and right, it is Torah from Sinai’s belief that we achieve unity when we have a 360 degree perspective. Please sign up to receive news updates and articles from Torah from Sinai so that you can stay informed and receive information from a perspective which, unfortunately, in today’s climate, sometimes gets censored, as we can see from a recent court ruling.

 

Parger University (PragerU) is a nonprofit which operates a very popular website that posts videos and content on various political, economic, and social issues.  The videos and content are presented from a center-right perspective.  The videos alone have over 3 billion views.

In 2017, PragerU filed a lawsuit in federal court to stop Google and YouTube (which is owned by Google) from censoring its videos and discriminating against its right to freedom of speech. The lawsuit cites dozens of PragerU videos that have been “restricted”, meaning they can’t be viewed by users who are using the site in restricted mode, which, when activated, makes unavailable certain content deemed age-inappropriate. YouTube also “demonetized” some videos, so that third-parties could not advertise on the videos, and PragerU could not generate money from them. The PragerU videos are about various topics from a center-right and traditional point of view.

 

PragerU argued in its lawsuit that YouTube sought to restrict non-left political thought, and as the largest public forum for views, it was censoring free speech. The lawsuit claimed that YouTube violated PragerU’s First Amendment rights and also violated federal law, the Lanham Act, through false advertising of itself as a platform that supports free speech.

 

PragerU’s claims were rejected by the courts, which found that, despite YouTube’s vast reach and role as a public platform, because YouTube is a private entity, it has a right to moderate its content in any way, even if some users believe that YouTube is biased.

 

YouTube’s terms and conditions state that the person that uploads the content to its site is responsible for the content. Therefore, it seems that one cannot legally challenge YouTube for publishing content that may be harmful, which gives them the privilege of hosting, presenting and disseminating a vast amount of content, without any responsibility.  In turn, they apparently can and do censor videos in any way they want.  This makes them very powerful, because in effect they can present one side of an issue or story and they are not liable if the one side that is presented is taken out of context, exaggerated or even false.  In turn, if people get information about only one side of an issue, it limits or hampers their ability to make well-thought-out and informed decisions.

 

In today’s world, communication of perspective and connection with like-minded people is mostly through YouTube and social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Many people believe that President Trump won the 2016 election by effectively using these platforms.  However, many messages that the reelect Trump 2020 campaign has attempted to use have been disallowed. YouTube has over 1.3 billion users and Facebook has more than 2.45 billion users. The U.S. based viewers of YouTube number approximately 200 million and U.S. based users of Facebook number approximately 220 million. Given the world population is around 7.7 billion, the reach of YouTube and Facebook is staggering. If YouTube, and other private entities such as Facebook, censor speech on its platforms, it stifles the exchange of facts, events, viewpoints, ideas and thoughts. Newspapers and magazines choose what they want to report and are only liable for false reporting of events if the victim can prove actual intent to harm the victim – which is often difficult and costly to prove.

To the extent voices of conservatives, people on the right, and pro-Israel supporters, are being censored, in this media driven age, the public’s access to information and knowledge will be adversely affected. Torah from Sinai’s platform will aim to fill part of this void, so that everyone, from all sides of the political or religious spectrum, can have access to and consume information and content about topics relating to the six challenges to Jewish Continuity set forth on Torah from Sinai’s website. In order to form opinions and ideas it is vital to have access to accurate information about a broad range of important topics, without censorship, which Torah from Sinai will provide.  Please sign up to receive our emails and content, so that you can stay informed.

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