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Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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Given his recent announcement of new content restrictions for YouTube aimed at reducing what he termed “borderline” content, why hasn’t Google CEO Sundar Pichai and his team done more to crackdown on Steven Crowder, the homophobic YouTube-based commentator?
That’s what CNN’s Poppy Harlow wondered on-air, after she herself interviewed Pichai.
The controversy stems from the homophobic remarks Crowder made on YouTube about Vox journalist Carlos Maza.
“Guys, YouTube has taken a lot of heat also for these homophobic videos, specifically ones aimed at this Vox journalist, that are still on, even after they put out these new guidelines,” Harlow said. “I asked him directly, ‘Why is that still there, those videos, are you going to take them down?’ And they are in the middle of reviewing their guidelines, again, meeting with outside groups and they’re considering it, but they don’t know at this point.
“I mean, if this is fundamental to your business, they have to make the decision about where that line is between hate and free speech,” Harlow added.
In an attempt to take some action against Crowder, YouTube did remove Crowder from some online advertising.
In the end, however, that move did not satisfy Crowder’s critics while stirring up support for him among some on the right, including public backing from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex).
And after the YouTube action, Crowder reportedly saw a boost among those signing up for his feed, to more than 80,000 in one week compared to about 15,000 the week prior.
Tech giants, like Google and social media providers have come under scrutiny in Washington, including for alleged biases in what content the companies will allow. That scrutiny goes up to, and including, Donald Trump.