New YouTube CEO Neal Mohan has vowed to crack down even harder on independent creators by announcing a “zero tolerance” policy on content deemed “non-mainstream.”
Mohan joined Google in 2007 and led YouTube’s Trust and Safety team under former CEO Susan Wojcicki. His team was responsible for censoring millions of users on the platform.
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Reclaimthenet.org reports: Mohan would often promote and defend controversial YouTube policies while Wojcicki was CEO.
He repeatedly supported YouTube’s policy of artificially boosting so-called “authoritative” sources instead of the independent creators that helped to build the platform.
Mohan made one of his most infamous statements on this topic in 2020 when he said creators “espousing” opinions “in their basement” can’t provide context on the news. Mohan used this basement analogy to justify the importance of boosting “authoritative voices.”
In 2019, Mohan revealed that YouTube was working on its controversial “creator-on-creator harassment” rules. These rules resulted in creators being hit with harsh punishments for going “too far” with insults, mockery, and jokes.
Mohan also announced YouTube’s decision to retroactively delete several videos from comedian Steven Crowder because they violated this new harassment policy, despite the videos being compliant with YouTube rules when they were uploaded. At the time, the practice of retroactive enforcement was rare on YouTube but since this announcement, it has become increasingly common.
In 2020, Mohan announced several censorship initiatives including an “Intelligence Desk” that targets emerging “conspiracy theories” and a ban on videos that “might” encourage people to ignore stay-at-home advice. He also confirmed that YouTube’s strict coronavirus misinformation policy would apply to the comments section.
In 2022, Mohan discussed Youtube’s efforts to censor “new misinformation” preemptively and highlighted YouTube’s “unprecedented action” when deleting over 70,000 Ukraine war videos. He also described censorship of Russian disinformation as “a constant ongoing endeavor.”
Not only did Mohan lead YouTube’s censorship team and have responsibility for the YouTube product during seven of the nine years when Wojcicki was in charge but he, like Wojcicki, has thrown his support behind censorship based on buzzwords such as misinformation.
“Ensuring that our platform is not a place for misinformation to spread, other types of…what we deem to be violative content is my number one priority, the top priority of…all of us at YouTube,” Mohan said in 2021.
While Mohan has yet to make any changes since taking the helm at YouTube, his past statements and actions indicate that the trend of increased censorship based on subjective buzzwords and preferential treatment of mainstream media outlets on YouTube is likely to continue under his reign.
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