YouTube throttling presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard

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At 4:00 PM EST today, Conservative comedian Steven Crowder and his late-night show team broke what may prove to be the most damning evidence against “big tech” in terms of its political censorship. They discovered that YouTube began actively hiding content from Congresswoman and Democratic Candidate for President Tulsi Gabbard’s YouTube channel. While this isn’t anything new, as YouTube has repeatedly and brazenly throttled and even deleted content that they don’t agree with ideologically, this instance has a new twist. Gabbard’s content was throttled in search results brought up when searching for her content, and only in the US. To be clear, this means that if anyone outside of the US searches for Tulsi Gabbard’s content, it will appear in the first page of search results, as it should. But if someone in the US searches for Gabbard’s content, it is buried in the search results. While Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard filed a suit against YouTube some time ago for suspected unfair treatment, this is a clear escalation in the war of information on the part of YouTube. Crowder and his lawyer, Mr. Bill Richmond, have both taken to the airwaves to announce that they are more than happy to testify in any subsequent investigations or hearings in this matter, and plan on bringing their evidence to bear.

Whatever may come of this particular incident, it is an obvious breach of the quickly dwindling amount of consumer trust in YouTube and Google as a whole, and continues to erode the belief that many Americans have in the modern political system. If one company can have a stranglehold on the flow of information to the American voter, how drastically could this skew the informed opinions of the voter themselves? How could this alter the outcomes of future elections? Facebook already took a fair bit of criticism for the role their 2016 Presidential Election through the publishing of ads from unverified sources, and some on Capitol Hill have sought to regulate their website and other social media platforms. 

The next steps, be they Congressional hearings, injunctions against YouTube, or outright breaking up of Big Tech corporations pursuant to laws like the Sherman Act, could reshape the debate on Big Tech and private censorship. It is possible that Big Tech has taken the meddling of US elections to a new level that is only now being made public. If true, they are not only targeting current US Presidential candidates, but they are doing so specifically in the US. There is likely no way that this is the result of an algorithm or fluke. This would be active tampering with the flow of information to the consumer, by a company that actively controls upwards of 90% of media online, based on political ideology.

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