In yet another glaring example of Google willingly doing China's bidding, YouTube this month agreed to take down multiple videos posted by a well-known China-related human rights organization.
As Reuters recently reported, YouTube initially tried to pressure the group called Atajurt Kazakh Human Rights to censor its content in several videos documenting disappeared Uyghur citizens in China's Xinjiang province, which YouTube interpreted as a violation of its anti-harassment policy given personally identifiable information was present.
Despite the group's videos essentially including detailed news reporting, the Google-owned platform said it had too many strikes against it related to people featured showing their IDs. The organization was asked to blur the IDs.
The IDs were shown on the videos to verify that interviewees were indeed relatives of those believed to be missing inside Xinjiang's vast 'reeducation camp' prisons. Instead of continuing to allow the videos to garner millions of views, spotlighting the ongoing crackdown against the Chinese Muslim minorities, YouTube instead "disappeared" the videos. The controversy began within the past years as follows:
Atajurt Kazakh Human Rights' channel has published nearly 11,000 videos on YouTube totaling over 120 million views since 2017, thousands of which feature people speaking to camera about relatives they say have disappeared without a trace in China's Xinjiang region, where UN experts and rights groups estimate over a million people have been detained in recent years.
On June 15, the channel was blocked for violating YouTube's guidelines, according to a screenshot seen by Reuters, after twelve of its videos had been reported for breaching its 'cyberbullying and harassment' policy.
While a number of videos have been reportedly restored on appeal, Atajurt Kazakh was alarmed enough over the crackdown to announce it would move its content to a less restrictive blockchain-based platform.
YouTube later defended the move, describing that its harassment policy "clearly prohibits content revealing someone’s personally identifiable information, including their government identification or phone numbers." It claimed to further be enforcing policies "equally for everyone".
Meanwhile in related news...
TIME magazine fails to disclose CCP funding for content in its latest print edition.— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) July 1, 2021
The mag struck a $700k ad partnership with China Daily, the state-controlled propaganda outlet. @TIME has not responded to repeated inquiries about the non-disclosure https://t.co/hFLb9zyWC1
Following the media attention, YouTube began restoring the videos while saying it would further evaluate its current policies. Reuters documented that the social media platform still urged the human rights group to comply, noting that "YouTube asked Atajurt to blur the IDs."
However, it remains that "Atajurt is hesitant to comply, the channel's administrator said, concerned that doing so would jeopardize the trustworthiness of the videos." So far close to 1,000 videos have been moved to the blockchain-driven alternative side Odysee, in a move which other rights and journalism organization may soon follow.