NaturalNews, a major online holistic health news platform with over 2.7 million Facebook fans, has had some major issues with mainstream media platforms in recent months.
First, the site said it was removed from Google searches, all 140,000 pages from its index, not long after the original “fake news” scare hit the internet. Under “fake news” suspicions, many topics that are not widely accepted in the mainstream got lumped together, including anti-GMO news, articles questioning the safety of immunizations, the pharmaceutical field’s corruption, a lot of holistic medicine information, and some of he more “conservative” political beliefs.
This move, which many believe to be an attack on free speech, continued with YouTube just recently removing over 1,700 videos of NaturalNews content, deleting their whole channel, including many non-political videos such the founder Mike Adams rescuing a donkey, tips on raising free-range chickens and growing your own food.
The channel had over 350,000 subscribers and 10 years’ worth of work put into it.
Today, when trying to open TheHealthRanger (ran by Mike Adams) channel, you will see:
“This account has been terminated for violating YouTube’s Community Guidelines.”
YouTube has multiple policies stating that anyone can flag a channel if the information provided goes against the guidelines. These include content that includes hate speech.
Unfortunately, what is hate speech or deemed “unacceptable” is determined by people with their own biases.
Recently it was exposed that under the pressure of its advertisers, YouTube hired an unknown number of “trusted flaggers,” companies or individuals who were given an ability to mass flag content, which led to the termination of many channels.
One of these trusted flaggers is the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Ironically, a group whose mission is to brand others with a “hate group” label may be engaging in exclusionary practices itself, by definition.
Becket Adams, a reporter for Washington Examiner, recently wrote an opinion piece urging everyone to stop taking the SPLC as a credible source of information.
“What a disaster. YouTube couldn’t have chosen a worse or less trustworthy partner,” he wrote.
While the SPLC’s work has been applauded by many in regards to taking on true hate speech, critics say the organization may be going a little too far in some areas.
The SPLC lumped everyone together: anti-LGBT, women’s rights activists, left wing advocacy groups, pro-family groups, pro-Israel groups, neo-Nazis and many others. These groups often have nothing in common, but as Becket Adams wrote:
“The SPLC will slap the word “extremist” on just about anything so long as it’s right-tilting.”
Megan McArdle, a columnist for Bloomberg also reported the SPLC has been placing conservatives in the same group as neo-Nazi organizations. Some of NaturalNews’ more conservative political statements must have fallen in the same pile.
But even then, YouTube did not just delete the political videos they did not agree with, they decided to delete the whole channel.
What you can do now to help sites like Natural News?
- Tweet @YouTube and @TeamYouTube requesting them to remove their censorship.
- Call your members of Congress to let them know that YouTube, Google, and Facebook are denying sites like NaturalNews the freedom of speech.
NaturalNews posted a video explaining what happened on Vimeo: