Op-Ed by Joe Wright
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – MLK
Readers might remember an article at Activist Post from October 26, 2017 entitled, “YouTube Terminated Our Unblemished Channel Without Warning.” It was eventually reported on by RT, which you can see in the video below.
By now, of course we know that merely being deleted from a single platform is nothing compared to the systemic elimination from all social media and even banking platforms that other independent media outlets have endured. However, today a video caught my attention while browsing about censorship on YouTube, because it perfectly illustrates the many seemingly disparate systems that can come together to upend one’s livelihood out of nowhere. And for the most innocuous of reasons.
A video game channel with 162K followers called Upper Echelon Gamers had a recent video pulled due to a violation of “Community Guidelines.” As you will see recounted in their video about the deletion that I’ve embedded at the end of this article, it had everything to do with certain language that was used, but was so clearly misinterpreted that I can only conclude this had to be a decision made by their A.I. system. The video in question contains the word “throttling,” which in video gaming has a very specific definition that has nothing to do with harming anyone. Even crazier, as if knowing this could happen, the YouTuber explains what he means in the very first words he speaks in that now-censored video.
I know many readers have become almost dismissive of these types of problems at YouTube and elsewhere, because, “hey, what did you expect getting into bed with these people?” I would have to caution against that mindset, because it is precisely the point that the A.I. systems being rolled out to give a de facto social credit system on these private platforms have connections to government and banking systems as well.
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As this YouTuber learned — and to his credit he admits it — HE thought he was immune from this sort of thing simply because he knew his intentions were good; he trusted in the system to leave him alone; and he still thought it was a “one in a million” type of event anyway. Well, it’s not. And careers and lives have been ruined because of the presumed guilt that is built into this type of paradigm. It’s the very same guilty-until-proven-innocent paradigm that pre-crime algorithms and smart tech (also shown to have been error prone) are promoting. Add in facial recognition, speech recognition and all other forms of biometrics in policing, banking and general identification — and YouTube is merely a tiny digital canary in a very large mine of our personal data.
Now, my guess is that this situation will in fact be reversed once attention has been brought to it and presumably a human reviews it. But maybe not — reason certainly didn’t prevail for Activist Post and many others when they have tried to communicate with YouTube.
Never forget that “reason” is a prime component of ethics, particularly in business and law. Any system where reason no longer applies and is given over to arbitrary decision making (especially autonomous) is of the utmost danger to freedom.
UPDATE from Upper Echelon Gamers:
So it’s either the fastest time youtube has ever responded to anything ive ever sent them…. or all of you helping me make a fuss got shit done. Either way, I can now live stream again, the video appears to be back up and the strike is no longer listed as active.
Reason (and/or activism) prevails … for now – J.W.
Joe Wright’s articles can be found at ActivistPost.com. Support us at Patreon. Support us at Patreon. Follow us on Minds, Steemit, SoMee, BitChute, Facebook and Twitter. Ready for solutions? Subscribe to our premium newsletter Counter Markets.