CBS News Uncovers More Big Tech Bias
In 60 Minutes interview, YouTube CEO attempts to explain censorship with transparency report that offers very little transparency
December 3, 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Big Tech has once again deemed itself top arbiter of what is appropriate content for the American people. In the latest example of Big Tech censoring voices with which they disagree, YouTube, a subsidiary of Google and the second most visited webpage in the world, removed from its site more than 300 political ads in support of President Trump. When YouTube's CEO Susan Wojcicki was asked about the decision to remove certain ads during an interview on CBS News' 60 Minutes, she directed viewers to the company's "transparency report."
After reviewing that report, CBS wrote:
"We found that over 300 video ads were taken down by Google and YouTube, mostly over the summer, for violating company policy. But the archive doesn't detail what policy was violated. Was it copyright violation? A lie or extreme inaccuracy? Faulty grammar? Bad punctuation? It's unclear. The ads determined to be offending are not available to be screened. We found very little transparency in the transparency report."
In other words, YouTube offered no explanation for removing the ads and censoring political free speech. As Sen. Cruz pointed out in a recent op-ed:
"Big Tech companies, from Facebook and Twitter to YouTube and Google, have established a pattern of arbitrarily silencing voices - overwhelming conservative voices - with whom they disagree."
Earlier this year, Dr. Robert Epstein, a renowned psychologist and researcher, testified that Google's biased search results swung at least 2.6 million votes to Hillary Clinton in 2016. Just last week, Google followed Twitter's lead and announced it will be placing new limitations on advertisements from politicians or campaigns.
Big Tech companies frequently hide behind their opaque computer algorithms to reject concerns about censorship and bias. However, according to an investigation into Google's search algorithms conducted by The Wall Street Journal:
"Google has increasingly re-engineered and interfered with search results to a far greater degree than the company and its executives have acknowledged [...]
"Despite publicly denying doing so, Google keeps blacklists to remove certain sites or prevent others from surfacing in certain types of results.
"In auto-complete, the feature that predicts search terms as the user types a query, Google's engineers have created algorithms and blacklists to weed out more-incendiary suggestions for controversial subjects, such as abortion or immigration, in effect filtering out inflammatory results on high-profile topics."
It's no surprise that the majority of Americans have little to no confidence in Big Tech's ability to determine what is and is not offensive content. That's why U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is leading the fight in the Senate to hold Big Tech accountable to the American people.
As he said during an interview last month:
"Big tech's power, bias, and censorship, is profoundly dangerous and it is a growing threat to our democracy. As chairman of the Constitution subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee, I have chaired multiple hearings focused on big tech bias and censorship. We've heard witness after witness testify; we've seen the evidence pile up of big tech silencing voices with which it disagrees. Shadow banning conservatives, shadow banning anyone who does not follow the political orthodoxy of a handful of big tech Silicon Valley billionaires. [...]
"What I have endeavored to do as a starting point is highlight and understand the scope of the problem."
Specifically, Sen. Cruz has:
- Chaired multiple hearings with representatives from Twitter, Facebook, and Google, where he raised his concerns about the technology companies engaging in a disturbing pattern of political censorship.
- Heard testimony from Dennis Prager of PragerU, whose videos are routinely censored on YouTube, and Dr. Robert Epstein, a psychologist who testified that Google's biased search results swung a minimum of 2.6 million votes to Hillary Clinton in 2016.
- Sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, urging him to remove language in U.S. trade agreements similar to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which provides "near -blanket legal immunity" to technology companies.
- Wrote an op-ed in The Hill in response to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's announcement last week banning all political ads from the platform, calling the move "profoundly harmful."