YouTube is bound and determined to make it impossible to think it’s a company interested in freedom in any way.
Once upon a time, technology companies were almost libertarian in their thinking. They were bound and determined to rewrite the rules by creating a virtual government-free zone on the internet. Anything could and would go, and there was nothing anyone could do about it. It was kind of beautiful.
Today, though, it turns out that these once free-thinking companies were waiting for the opportunity to reach out and smash this emerging liberty with the iron fist of totalitarianism.
Why else would YouTube not just restrict gun making videos, but also Cody Wilson’s press conference and fundraising videos?
Cody Wilson said that video-sharing giant YouTube removed video of his recent press conference announcing the sale of gun blueprints and a fundraiser for his ongoing legal fight over the publication of the same blueprints.
“YouTube removed my fundraising video and my press conference,” Wilson told the Washington Free Beacon. “They’re saying it’s ‘promotion of the sale of firearms.’ They removed every video I’ve ever made on ghost gunner and Defcad. Press conference, attended by the NYT and AP is still gone.”
An email from YouTube to Wilson’s company, obtained by the Free Beacon and dated August 31, 2018, tells the company it has violated Community Guidelines.
“As you may know, our Community Guidelines describe which content we allow—and don’t allow—on YouTube,” an email from “The YouTube Team” to Wilson’s company said. “Your video Cody Wilson—Press Conference—Defense Distributed—8-28-2018 was flagged to us for review. Upon review, we’ve determined that it violates our guidelines and we’ve removed it from YouTube.”
The video in question, which has already been reposted by other accounts on YouTube, shows a press conference Wilson gave for a collection of reporters from major media outlets including the Associated Press, New York Times, Houston Chronicle, and others. The 46-minute video features Wilson explaining his reaction to a recent ruling by a federal judge forcing the State Department to abandon its settlement with Wilson, which would have allowed him to publish certain gun files, including his design for a gun made mostly from 3D-printed components, pending further legal action. After explaining that he would begin to sell the files online and sharing them over email or other secured means of transmission in response to the judge’s assertion that doing so would likely be legal, Wilson then took questions from the press for about 40 minutes.
YouTube claims that it’s justified because Wilson included a like to DefCad.com on the video’s page.
Now, again–and I’m starting to feel like a broken record here–YouTube has the right to determine what kind of content it wants to host or not. That’s not the issue here.
What is the issue is the capricious nature of these takedowns. They also took down a fundraising video by Wilson as he tries to raise money to help with his legal fees, which clearly violates none of YouTube’s policies. In fact, fundraising videos are common. A lot of YouTuber’s raise money for not just legal fees, but also as a way to make their living, so clearly asking for money isn’t a problem in YouTubeland.
No, the problem is that Wilson wants to arm people, and YouTube wants to shut him out in any way they can.
Oh, other companies use YouTube and aren’t having everything yanked, but I can’t help but think all of this is because Wilson is using its world–technology–to go against the narrative.
If YouTube isn’t careful, it’s going to find its platform is little more than an echo chamber of leftist rhetoric while more interesting channels go to other platforms. Right now it’s not an issue, but MySpace felt pretty secure at one time too.