YouTube has ‘quarantined’ a hard-hitting video on Europe’s migrant crisis released by Poland’s conservative government, as part the platform’s crackdown on “hate speech and violent extremism”.
The Polish Ministry of Interior and Administration’s video has been placed in a controversial limited state designed by YouTube to restrict access to videos it says contain “supremacist” or “extremist” content, but which don’t actually break any of the platform’s rules. Videos placed in this limited state are unsearchable, impossible to embed on other sites, and removed from users’ recommended videos lists.
The only way to reach such ‘quarantined’ content is by clicking a direct link to the video in question. Even then, viewers are warned that the “content is inappropriate or offensive”, and are asked to click a button confirming this before they are allowed to watch the video.
The video’s description reads –
“The PiS (Law & Justice) government withdrew from the harmful decision of the PO-PSL government to bring immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa to Poland. We were the first to say that not every immigrant is a refugee, and only a few flee from war and terror. Two years after the Polish government’s opposition to the admission of illegal immigrants, EU leaders are beginning to understand the absurd policy of compulsory relocation of refugees.”
This is the restricted video (which has English subtitles):
This is very concerning from a freedom of speech perspective, especially as YouTube is by far the largest video sharing site online. It is very difficult for smaller rivals to compete – just last week VidMe announced that it will be closing down and user uploads have already been disabled.
We cannot allow giant corporations to become the arbiters of free expression and communication. That leads directly to tyranny. One potential solution could be the use of decentralised peer-to-peer video sharing sites, where it would be much harder for a central authority to censor or restrict content.
Disclaimer: The content of this post reflects the views of the author, and not necessarily those of MBGA News.
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