60 Minutes found over 300 Trump ads have been taken down by Google and YouTube for violating the companies' policies. The report notes the campaign videos generally ran over the summer but were taken down by the companies after only a few days.
During an interview with 60 Minutes, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki was asked to respond to conservative critics who say YouTube discriminates against content creators with a conservative viewpoint.
"Well, first of all," Wojcicki began, "there are lots of very successful conservative creators on YouTube... Our systems, our algorithms, they don't have any concept of understanding what's a Democrat, what's a Republican. They don't have any concept of political bias built into them in any way. And we do hear this criticism from all sides. We also have people who come from more liberal backgrounds who complain about discrimination. And so I think that no matter who you are, we are trying to enforce our policies in a consistent way for everybody."
May we see YouTube's algorithm to confirm what she is saying? Of course not.
YouTube stumbled over their words to explain why the company demonetized conservative commentator and comedian Steven Crowder over the summer. Investigative journalist James O'Keefe has had several videos of his removed by YouTube over the years. In 2018, YouTube banned pro-gun groups from their platform. There are plenty of more examples, but you get the gist.
When a Google employee wrote a letter exposing the "outrage mobs" and "witch hunts" formed by the company's leftist employees who want Google to sever ties with right-leaning groups and individuals, Google fired the whistleblower. Earlier this year, Project Veritas exposed a Google executive who considers it her mission to "prevent" the next "Trump situation" from occurring.
Elizabeth Warren and other Democrats are feuding with another tech giant, Facebook, over its decision not to censor political ads.
In a speech at Georgetown University in October, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave a strong defense of his company’s decision not to censor political speech on its platform. “I know many people disagree, but, in general, I don’t think it’s right for a private company to censor politicians or the news in a democracy,” Zuckerberg told the crowd. “As a principle, in a democracy, I believe people should decide what is credible, not tech companies.”
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced in late October that his platform would not be running political advertisements.
"A political message earns reach when people decide to follow an account or retweet," Dorsey tweeted. "Paying for reach removes that decision, forcing highly optimized and targeted political messages on people."
Dorsey's ban on political advertisements is a boon for incumbents. Of course, if every company banned political advertisements, how many people would have access to political speech?
60 Minutes reviewed the archive of the over 300 plus Trump ads that were taken down by YouTube and Google for allegedly violating company policy. The archive does not state the specific reason why each video was removed. But based on their track record, should Google and YouTube really decide which political advertisements the American people see?