YouTube Reinstates Banned ‘talkRADIO’ Channel, Bewilders BBC

January 6th, 2021 11:59 AM

YouTube reversed its termination of a YouTube channel, casting further doubt on its ability to moderate consistently.

“YouTube has reinstated TalkRadio's channel on its platform hours after saying it had been ‘terminated’ for breaking the tech firm's rules,’” The BBC reported Jan. 5. The London-based “talkRADIO” channel has about “424,000 listeners” and was reportedly terminated for questioning aspects of the COVID-19 narrative. YouTube explained its reasoning for why the channel was reinstated after “further review”:

"We quickly remove flagged content that violate our community guidelines, including Covid-19 content that explicitly contradict expert consensus from local health authorities or the World Health Organization. We make exceptions for material posted with an educational, documentary, scientific or artistic purpose, as was deemed in this case."

“TalkRADIO” expressed its severe skepticism for the platform’s censorship: "YouTube is making decisions about which opinions the public are allowed to hear, even when they are sourced to responsible and regulated new providers," talkRADIO tweeted Jan 5. The same tweet included a more general observation: "This sets a dangerous precedent and is censorship of free speech and legitimate national debate."

The BBC’s article included commentary from its North America technology reporter James Clayton, who scorched the platform for haphazard moderation:

“YouTube is now saying it was a short suspension, which certainly seems like a backtrack.

“Even now, it's not obvious what the offending material was that caused this action. The whole process reinforces the idea that YouTube's moderation policies - where it draws the line between freedom of expression and clamping down on misinformation - can be messy and inconsistent.”

YouTube has faced mounting pressure from Democrats to censor channels of news outlets. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) led a group of his liberal Senate colleagues on Nov. 24 urging YouTube to remove “misinformation.” In an open letter he and his allies demanded swift action to crush conservative dissent regarding the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

A bill was even introduced by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyner (D-NY) in the House Committee on Rules calling for penalties for members of Congress and congressional employees for spreading “manipulated” content, including on social media.

Conservatives are under attack. Contact YouTube via at (650) 623-4000, Facebook, Twitter or by mail 1600 Amphitheatre Pkwy Mountain View, CA, 94043. demand that the platform provide transparency: Companies need to design open systems so that they can be held accountable, while giving weight to privacy concerns. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.