Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, called out Google, the search-engine behemoth, over reports that it was censoring anti-communist content.
Cruz tweeted Tuesday that he was disturbed by the reports and asked “Why is Google/YouTube censoring Americans on behalf of the CCP? This is WRONG & Big Tech is drunk with power. The Sherman Act prohibits abusing monopoly power. DOJ needs to stop this NOW.”
Mediaite reported that Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., followed up Cruz’s and wrote, “I’d like to know the answer to this, Google.”
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The outcry began after Palmer Luckey, a tech entrepreneur, who posted on Twitter that YouTube “deleted every comment I ever made about the Wumao, an internet propaganda division of the Chinese Communist Party. Who at Google decided to censor American comments on American videos hosted in America by an American platform that is already banned in China?”
Google is YouTube’s parent company.
A media reporter for the New York Times said a spokesman from the company said “this appears to be an error in our enforcement systems and we are investigating. Users can report suspected issues…These removals were not a result of policy change.”
Big tech has been under the microscope since the coronavirus outbreak began. Critics say YouTube, in particular, is censoring any reports that question the wisdom of statewide lockdowns. Twitter has been under fire over posts from President Trump that suggested MSNBC host Joe Scarborough may have played a role in the years-old death of an intern at his Florida office.
The Verge, a tech news website, reported that YouTube, which is banned in China, seemed to be deleting similar criticism of China since October 2019. The report said that words like “共匪” (“communist bandit”) or “五毛” (“50-cent party”) are automatically deleted in 15 seconds. The report said that these words were “accidentally” added to YouTube’s comment filter.
The Verge reported that YouTube has been criticized in the past for bowing to pressure from the Communist Party of China, and even developed a never-released prototype called Dragonfly that adhered to state censorship.