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Censorship Isn't the Answer

Justin Stark

Posted on February 1, 2020 18:07

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Are the unintended consequences of censorship worth it during an internet era in a free country?

Back in August of 2018, Alex Jones and his show were removed from several sites for violating hate speech policies -- fair enough. However, on YouTube, it wasn’t just Alex’s channel that was taken down. It would make sense to remove the Ron Gibson Channel, which uploads his daily show in full as it likely also violated their hate speech policy. What concerns me is what happened to InfoWars employee David Knight.

If you didn’t know who Alex Jones was, you probably quickly learned sometime after 2016 when his show soared in popularity. For those who don’t know of Alex, he’s best known for his wild rants, outlandish claims, and long-winded tangents on interdimensional psychic vampires (among other things). David Knight is not who you would expect Alex to hire to host a 3-hour morning show. In fact, he is the yin to Alex’s yang. David is a calm, well-educated, evidence-based political commentator with a smooth voice. His show offers an alternative for those who agree with the Alex Jones world-view yet wish to avoid the spectacle that is Alex Jones.

If Alex’s channel and show were taken down for certain clips that violated YouTube’s terms of service, what’s the justification for removing David Knight’s channel? His show operated independent of Alex’s and didn’t play any of the content YouTube highlighted as evidence for his removal. It should also be noted where Alex’s channel had multiple past strikes, David’s never received a strike from YouTube. More so, removing David’s channel ignores YouTube’s strike warning system for creators. The “Alex Jones Ban” was more than just that. It was a successful attempt to push a political thought away from the free exchange of ideas and into the dark crevasse of the internet. David was guilty by association as the ban was more on Alex's ideas rather than the man himself.

Did removing InfoWars and all their programs really change anything? Yes, probably not in the way these tech companies expected. It’s true, InfoWars content is harder to find. That won’t stop people from wanting to consume his content. Instead of going to YouTube, where there is content across the political spectrum, his viewers are going one of two places. The InfoWars website or Bitchute, a YouTube competitor consisting of many former YouTubers deemed unfit for YouTube. All this does is expose his audience to more extreme content. If we can learn anything from Caleb Cain's journey into and out of a racist bubble, it's that the best cure for bad ideas is exposure. If Alex's world-view is as crazy as everyone says it is, we should push it into the light, not the hide it in the darkness. The goal of all this seems to have been to limit new viewership rather than break the echo-chamber his current fans currently live in. By doing so, the InfoWars echo-chamber is stronger than ever.

Justin Stark

Posted on February 1, 2020 18:07

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Source: Deadline

YouTube is caught in the middle of a war between conservative commentors and advertisers. CNN has reported that mainstream...

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