The creepy line
This morning Google told me that it would not allow my YouTube video “Socialism Leads to Violence” to be viewed by young people. It violates “community guidelines,” said the company in a computer-generated email.
Anti-capitalist bias? Or just an algorithm shielding children from disturbing violence in Venezuela? I don’t know.
But a new documentary, “The Creepy Line,” argues that companies like Google and Facebook lean left and have power they shouldn’t have.
The title “Creepy Line” refers to a comment by former Google chairman Eric Schmidt, who said when it comes to issues like privacy, Google policy “is to get right up to the creepy line but not cross it.”
But the documentary argues that Google crosses that creepy line every day.
Google’s power comes from its dominant search engine. We assume that whatever appears at the top of our searches is the “best” or most popular result.
But is it?
“It is a company that has an agenda,” the writer of “The Creepy Line,” Peter Schweizer, says in my latest video.
Google executives do give much more money to Democrats than Republicans. Eric Schmidt even advised Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
“Their ability to manipulate the algorithm is something that they’ve demonstrated,” says Schweizer, and last election Google put positive stories about Hillary Clinton higher in Google searches.
But that doesn’t prove Google bias. It could be because the media lean left, and “unbiased” algorithms rely on links to popular media.
“But they’re not using unbiased algorithms to do things like search for unacceptable content,” says psychologist Jordan Peterson in the documentary. “They’re built specifically to filter out whatever’s bad.”
True. Mark Zuckerberg testified that Facebook actively filters out “hate speech, terrorist content, nudity, anything that makes people feel unsafe.”
Human “content monitors” do some of that censoring, and some of them despise conservatives. A former Facebook employee reported that the human censors sometimes ignored stories trending among Facebook users if the stories came from a conservative website.
Google’s censors briefly shut down Jordan Peterson’s Gmail and blocked his YouTube channel (Google owns YouTube).
“That’s a real problem,” says Peterson in “The Creepy Line.” “You come to rely on these things, and when the plug is pulled suddenly, that puts a big hole into your life.”
It does. My TV channel, “Stossel TV,” will survive if YouTube won’t let young people watch some of my videos, but it’s a big setback.
My purpose in making the videos is to reach kids, to educate them about the benefits of free markets. It’s why I started StosselInTheClassroom.org, a nonprofit that provides videos, plus teachers’ guides, free to teachers.