Open Letter to YouTube

Open Letter to YouTube

I sent this to YouTube this morning via their Feedback feature:

To whom it may concern,

Over the course of the last few months, I have become increasingly concerned regarding certain editorial and business decisions that have been made by YouTube and its parent company. More and more, it seems that your platform is no longer a place for open discussion, for debate, for humor, and for free speech. Or rather, those things can happen, but the playing field is definitely tilted in such a way that certain viewpoints are disadvantaged and discouraged. And in some cases, those viewpoints are removed entirely.

A free and open society requires free, open, and vigorous debate. Your practice of removing certain videos and demonetizing certain channels stifles that debate. It creates false consciousness and distorts society’s perception of issues and of itself. A public square is desperately needed, but it must be one that allows equal access, and to the extent that your business does not allow that equal access, it is no longer that public square. Despite being a platform that I have used and enjoyed in the past, it is no longer one I can trust, nor one I can support directly in good conscience. The demonetization of the DarkHorse podcast in particular – a podcast of people who are in no way fire breathing right wing ideologues, but considered, nuanced, center-left evolutionary biology professors – is the last straw, though there have been other channels, demonetizations, content strikes, and the like that I could name.

I have been a premium subscriber for years, have watched thousands of hours of videos, enjoyed the downloading and background play aspects of the service. But your behavior now leads me, in my small way, to demonetize you, and encourage others to do the same. I will be using the money I was giving you to directly support DarkHorse podcast and others who are having conversations you are actively discouraging. It is my hope that YouTube can at some point escape its current state of ideological capture, but until that happens, I cannot wish you success. Instead, I wish you education in whatever form it must take for you to understand and again support those values which allow a free, just, and liberal society.


Zachary Ricks

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