Video: YouTube censorship of the vegan message

I made the following video about YouTube’s censorship of the vegan message.

Some background:

Emily Moran Barwick, aka Bite Size Vegan, had one of her videos, The Extremism of Veganism, censored by YouTube after it was flagged by a viewer.

Emily’s original video gave ample advanced warning that there would be graphic imagery (it was even timestamped in the description). The violence was in no way gratuitous, but provided information that was important to her educational message. The nightly news regularly includes graphic footage without nearly as much warning (our family watched BBC world news when I was a kid – I saw a lot of scary stuff).

The hypocrisy

While work like Emily’s video is being blocked from younger viewers, kids are still free to look up violent footage of hunting and butchering animals. For some reason, those videos rarely require age verification.

The difference between Emily’s video and the hunting videos is that the vegan video questions social norms. Apparently, violence towards animals is completely acceptable as long as it doesn’t cause viewers to question our barbaric treatment of them.

As I mention in the video, I have young kids, and I definitely worry about them coming across violent imagery on the internet. But videos from the Bite-Size Vegan are the least of my worries. If it is educational and newsworthy, as Emily’s videos are, they cannot be dismissed as gratuitous. There was nothing wonton or excessive in her use of the clips (she has since removed the footage in question).

We should all be concerned by censorship of images from factory farms

My concern is that YouTube is acquiescing to so-called Ag-Gag laws, which censor whistle blowers from sharing abuses on factory farms.

Google (now known as Alphabet), YouTube’s parent company, has always said that it’s guiding principle is “don’t be evil”. Well, when you attempt to silence people who are exposing the truth about evil deeds, I think it’s fair enough to say that you may be seen as guilty by association.

I hope that YouTube will take a careful look at this and similar situations and ask themselves why they have chosen to limit Emily’s freedom of speech while permitting so many ugly and hateful videos. Bite-Size Vegan is attempting to shine the light on injustice and expose those who perpetuate violence. That is the essence of journalism, and YouTube should be defending her freedom of speech, not silencing her.

Let YouTube know how you feel

I would ask you to please consider tweeting to @YouTube and asking them not to censor footage of factory farms. We need to defend educators and journalists against censorship and let corporations like Google/Alphabet know that we expect them to stand on the side of freedom of speech.

What do you think? Join the conversation!

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