Thomas Gallatin / October 10, 2017

YouTube Restricts… Mike Rowe?

The video site seeks to limit access to common sense ideas it apparently deems to be too “controversial.”

Last Thursday, Mike Rowe, the immensely likable host of “Dirty Jobs,” announced via a Facebook post that his YouTube channel had been restricted. Now anyone who has ever watched a Mike Rowe video would be shocked to hear this news, as his videos are often some of the most carefully worded, timely and poignant thoughts on a great variety of issues — hence his overall popularity. And one thing Rowe trumpets is respect for the value of hard work, no matter the job.

In this vein, a few months back conservative commentator Dennis Prager invited Rowe to give the commencement speech for his virtual university, Prager University. Rowe gladly obliged with a video entitled “Don’t Follow Your Passion,” which has been viewed over six million times. Suddenly, without prior warning, Rowe received a message from YouTube notifying him that his video for Prager U was “determined” to be “inappropriate.” Rowe explains that he was shocked at the news as he had not run afoul of YouTube’s appropriate content policies, or so he thought. Rowe said that he then reread YouTube’s policy fine print and found the following sentence: “Some videos don’t violate our policies, but may not be appropriate for all audiences. In these cases, our review team may place an age restriction when we’re notified of the content.” In other words, YouTube’s censors are essentially saying they will restrict you if they don’t like your message.

After Rowe posted his message to Facebook it didn’t take long for YouTube to reverse course and lift the restriction imposed upon his content. Fortunately for Rowe he has a big enough audience that he was able to effectively call out YouTube for hypocrisy, but what about the lesser-known user who finds himself victim of a similar prejudice?

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