YouTube censored The China Show podcast, which was covering the massive anti-Chinese Communist Party (CCP) protests in China.
Matt Tye and Winston Sterzel were once the first YouTubers in China, according to their podcast description, and now they expose the CCP on The China Show. YouTube age-restricted both their podcast and another show, China Uncensored, which were covering the mass anti-CCP protests in China, as MRC’s CensorTrack recorded. The China Show was also demonetized.
“When YouTube age-restricts a video, it kills it,” Sterzel said on their Dec. 2 show. He explained that YouTube’s age restriction not only prevents people under a certain age from viewing a video, but it prevents anyone who is not logged into an account from viewing the video. Many people view YouTube videos without being logged in. Sterzel said a restricted video cannot be embedded or preview play. “It doesn’t get shared out, and YouTube doesn’t promote it,” he said. "It completely destroys it.”
Sterzel continued, “And this is a new tactic of the Chinese 50 Cent Army, is they go out to mass-flag our videos, to get them age-restricted.” The hosts said that other videos with the same footage and similar coverage are not age-restricted, and insisted they had deliberately removed violent parts of their footage to avoid age restrictions.
The China Show’s video had over 815,000 views at the time of the show, but Tye said the video would likely be at 2 million views if it had not been age-restricted. After an appeal, the restriction has since been lifted, he said, but the damage was done. Tye explained that he objects to the censorship not because “we want to be famous,” but because “it stopped the message of showing the Chinese protestors that wanted the Chinese government to step down.”
And while Sterzel flagged the censorship for YouTube on Nov. 27, the videos were still restricted on Nov. 30, despite YouTube acknowledging on Twitter that it had received the messages on China Uncensored’s Twitter page, which included Sterzel’s complaint too.
Responding to YouTube’s tweet, China Uncensored highlighted YouTube’s complicity in the CCP’s censorship efforts. “[W]e were told that we’re not allowed to show protests in China or anywhere else,” the account tweeted. “If, however, we censor ourselves and delete footage of protests, YouTube will remove the age-restriction.”
As Sterzel and Tye indicated on their Dec. 2 show, YouTube might not be responsible for CCP bots mass-flagging a video, but the platform is responsible for insisting on censorship of significant protests against an anti-free speech regime, to the benefit of that regime.
“My problem is, our Western social media platforms are affected by this,” Tye exclaimed. “And they’re still not stepping up and putting a stop to it.”
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