Opinion

YouTube’s Policy on COVID-19 and Climate Change Sets Dangerous Precedent

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Posted: Apr 26, 2020 12:01 AM
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YouTube’s Policy on COVID-19 and Climate Change Sets Dangerous Precedent

Source: AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File

YouTube’s CEO Susan Wojcicki‎ has declared that they will “remove any content that goes against WHO recommendations” on the coronavirus pandemic, essentially censoring any opinion other than that of the World Health Organization.

This is not the first time YouTube has censored information with which it disagrees. Last year, the online streaming site said it would censor videos that do not agree with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s exaggerated claims about global warming.

This move by YouTube sets a dangerous precedent for censorship and has the potential to restrict the flow of information from competing sources—something that has been essential to the discovery of both truths and falsehoods and so to the growth of knowledge.

If anything, YouTube should be cautious of WHO, and not the other sources. It was WHO that made big blunders.

In January, WHO declared that COVID-19 was not transmittable from humans to humans. WHO relayed the same information on its website, YouTube, and Twitter.

WHO tweeted, “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China.”

Three months down the line, the world finds itself in the midst of a catastrophic pandemic driven by human-to-human transmission.

Does YouTube care about this blatant error and how much it has cost governments and populations that were left unprepared because of it?

Instead, YouTube recognizes WHO as the ultimate authority on the COVID-19 pandemic and is ready to blindly censor any opinion contrary to WHO’s. 

However, YouTube is not alone in this war on information. YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook removed posts by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro which contained information on the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine.

There is absolutely nothing controversial about his posts, as the efficacy of the drug in treating COVID-19 is currently being tested by the United States Centers for Disease Control. The President of United States even requested India to release the drug to other countries, and India agreed.

Interestingly, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube did not ban the White House official briefings that contained information on hydroxychloroquine. So, social media CEOs get to choose who’s lucky and who’s not.

YouTube is known for courting controversy with censorship, especially on the issue of climate change.

In 2018, YouTube experimented with labeling videos that did not comply with the popular climate doomsday theory perpetrated by the United Nations and other climate alarmists.

Earlier this year, a Democrat senator demanded that YouTube take down videos that do not comply with the United Nation’s view on extreme climate change and its belief about an imminent climate doomsday.

YouTube is perilously close to being a science denier by choosing to promote only one side of the coin on issues of critical global socio-economic significance.

It is ironic that YouTube accuses those censored as spreading “misinformation” while simultaneously deciding to consider organizations like WHO and the UN as ultimate authorities despite their own serious errors on climate change and COVID-19.

Unchallenged, such censorship will cripple scientific discourse and the scientific progress that depends on it.