Sunday, March 04, 2018

Conservative Nonprofit PragerU Is Suing Google for Alleged Discrimination

Prager University, a conservative nonprofit that creates educational videos, is suing Google for allegedly discriminating against the digital media organization for its fairly moderate ideological slant.

Specifically, PragerU is accusing YouTube, which is owned by Google parent company Alphabet, of restricting or “demonetizing” videos even though they all appear to be innocuous and compliant with the platform’s rules.

PragerU’s videos include former and current professors and scholars from Stanford, Harvard, and Yale, like Alan Dershowitz; prominent athletes like Cobi Jones; popular celebrities like Mike Rowe; and influential figures like Steve Forbes. The majority of the people featured—sans political commentator Dinesh D’Souza—are not usually considered exceptionally controversial. Neither are a lot of the topics, some of which are likely studied in classrooms across the country.

Topics include “Is the Death Penalty Moral” and “The Progressive Income Tax.”

“If you’ve seen any of our videos, they’re very educational, and are very appropriate for ‘young viewers,’” said Craig Strazzeri, chief marketing officer for PragerU, addressing accusations from Google.

YouTube’s help page clarifies that videos containing certain “mature content” will be blocked for users who employ a “Restricted Mode,” a voluntary option in most cases.

Types of content that is obstructed for those viewers include:

Drugs and alcohol
Sexual situations
Mature subjects
Profane and mature language
Incendiary and demeaning content

The primary problem with Restricted Mode for PragerU is it’s often not optional for users who are part of or using a larger network, such as the ones operated by schools, libraries, and public institutions.

Demonetization, a less menacing term for revoking sponsorship and thus ad revenue, is another way YouTube can clamp down on content creators, such as what’s being done to PragerU. As the founder of the Internet Creators Guild, Hank Green, notes, making money off of YouTube is no longer an elusive endeavor only afforded to a fraction of the most creative and popular; it is now a legitimate way for some people to earn a steady income, or at least some supplementary funds.

To put this fact into context, Green explains how nowadays there are roughly 300,000 content creators that garner over 100,000 views a month and consequently earn roughly $2,500 a year. And for 1 million views, there are reportedly around 37,000 YouTubers who hit that mark every month.

By demonetizing and restricting a total of 50 videos, PragerU claims that YouTube is targeting it for its relative ideological differences, while also equating it to unlawful censorship and discrimination against its right to freedom of speech.



Anonymous said...

Google is evil !

Bird of Paradise said...

I hope Prager wins their case i have watched many of their videos on Youtube