A tutorial for YouTube’s content moderators that emerged on social media on Tuesday shows that the Google-owned platform has labeled a number of critical positions on the conflict in Ukraine “hateful” or “extreme” and can censor or demonetize creators on those grounds. While the parent company Alphabet has not confirmed or denied the screenshots’ authenticity, a Polish contractor who shared them has reportedly been fired.
Six screenshots shared by Russian journalist Andrey Guselnikov on Telegram show internal codes and examples of what YouTube has labeled “harmful” or “hateful” content in an online course mandated for content moderators.
According to the slides, the “glorification/promotion of [the] ‘Z’ symbol associated with the Russian military” is labeled “hate” and “extreme” under policy ID 864. So is saying that the conflict “is to denazify the Ukrainian government,” which is what Russian President Vladimir Putin said in February.
Saying that “Ukraine military is attacking its own people” is also considered problematic, ranging from “harmful-misinformation-moderate” (ID 862) to “harmful-misinformation-extreme” (ID 863) if the powers that be decide it amounts to “promotion or glorification.”
There was no clarification whether either standard would apply to factual reports of Ukrainian artillery targeting Ukrainian citizens living in territories under Russian control, for example.
Another highlighted phrase under policies 862 and 863 is “US funded bioweapons labs in Ukraine.” Presumably the key word here is “bioweapons,” since the existence of “biological research facilities” in Ukraine was recognized by US Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland in a Senate testimony in March, and the Russian military has repeatedly presented evidence that these labs were funded by the US government, and the Pentagon in particular.
One of the slides shows a list of “out of scope” claims, noting there is no “full-scale block on all content” related to the conflict.
According to Guselnikov, the source of the leaked slides is a Polish national named Kamil Kozera, who used to work for Majorel, a contractor hired by YouTube for content moderation. YouTube somehow identified Kozera from the screenshots and had him fired over the leak. RT cannot independently verify the authenticity of the screenshots, and has reached out to YouTube for comment.
The video hosting platform, owned alongside Google by the Silicon Valley behemoth Alphabet, took the unprecedented step in censorship by globally blocking RT, Sputnik and all channels “associated with Russian state-funded media” in early March, expanding on the original ban ordered by the EU authorities in their jurisdiction. It also “paused” all advertising and “all of the ways to monetize” on the platform – such as sponsorships and superchats – in Russia.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos in May, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said that the company continues to operate in Russia so it can “deliver independent news” to Russians, noting that “What we’re really seeing in this conflict is that information does play a key role, that information can be weaponized.”
They can play all the games they like the neoliberals and neocons will not get their new feudal world!!!
It’s a badge of honour to be blocked by the cursed, satanic google. And the daily fail. rt didn’t like what I said either, and that was saying something positive about Christianity!
I can’t see rt anymore, not sure if it’s my brit isp, or the Govt. Sputnik long blocked now.
It’s so rare it may have thrown their algos.
Frankly, neither RT nor Sputnik are a big loss.
RT online is particularly repulsive to me (some of the TV shows are okay)
Agreed. de.rt.com is a lot better. See here for example. Reports are generally a lot more balanced. It is a lot more limited in scope though (no doubt much lower budget) – but far more worthwhile anyway. A little bit amateurish in presentation.
What irritates me is that there is no adequate English language general news website from Russia. I don’t look at any MSM whatsoever, so I have an important gap to fill. TASS does not have the disgusting pro-US fawning that RT specialises in, but for general news as to what is going on in the world it is very unsatisfactory with sparse coverage, poor interface, and seemingly mainly Russia-promoting news rather than general news.
The jokers blocked rt.com, and de.rt.com, but left russian.rt.com open.
All of this is accessible – the internet is just one huge Emmentaler tunnel labyrinth.
Just imagine what home-office tunnels did to the internet during COVID!
RT is pure organic woke crap.
Russia should kick them out
They will as soon as they can get Rutube is some semi decent condition.
They are working on it.
They should archive any youtube videos that do not support the narrative though.
That would be a mistake.
You do not become resilient by not listening to the enemy’s lies.
You become so by teaching your people to see through them.
Is it technically feasible to block income generation for Google?
The lies are so many that they need to number them and train people to enforce them.