Google is escalating its campaign of internet censorship, announcing that it will expand its workforce of human censors to over 10,000, the internet giant announced on December 4. The censors' primary focus will be videos and other content on YouTube, its video-sharing platform, but will work across Google to censor content and train its automated systems, which remove videos at a rate four times faster than its human employees.
Human censors have already reviewed over 2 million videos since June. YouTube has already removed over 150,000 videos, 50 percent of which were removed within two hours of upload. The company is working to accelerate the rate of takedown through machine-learning from manual censorship, according to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki in an official blog post.
The hiring drive by Google is yet another advance in the campaign against any expression of political opposition. Other social media giants have implemented measures against "fake news"; Facebook has altered its algorithms to reduce the visibility of certain news stories, and Twitter has banned the Russian-funded media outlets RT and Sputnik from advertising on the platform.
While railing against "extremist content," "child exploitation" and "hoaxes" in the interest of "public safety," the ultimate goal of this campaign is the suppression of left-wing, anti-war sentiment.
Any censorship on YouTube will undoubtedly have an immense impact on online political discourse. According to a white paper by technology conglomerate Cisco, video will account for 69 percent of all consumer-based internet traffic in 2017; this is expected to rise to 80 percent by 2019.
YouTube essentially operates a monopoly on prerecorded video sharing and general video monetization, with some 1.5 billion viewers who watch 1 billion hours of video each day on the platform; in 2015, Google policy manager Verity Harding informed the European Parliament, which was then pressuring YouTube to censor "terror-related" content, that 300 hours of video were being uploaded to the platform every minute.
YouTube began removing photographic and video documentation of war crimes in Syria in August, terminating some 180 accounts and removing countless videos from other channels, including footage uploaded by Airwars of coalition air raids that have killed civilians, according to Hadi al-Khatib, the founder of Syrian Archive. YouTube later stated that it would work to "quickly reinstate" any videos and channels that it "removed mistakenly."
In November, YouTube removed over 51,000 videos concerning Anwar al-Awlaki, the Yemeni-American imam who was assassinated via missile raid by the Obama administration on September 30, 2011. Awlaki was never charged with, let alone convicted of any crime. The mass removal was praised by the New York Times, one of the largest mouthpieces of the American ruling elite, as a "watershed moment."