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Media Editors / Jun. 29, 2019

Video: Crenshaw Slams Google for Calling PragerU 'Nazis'

"What kind of education do people at Google have that they think that religious Jews are Nazis?"

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX): There’s good questions on whether some of this content provides education so that we know of the bad things out there or whether it’s radicalizing people. Those are hard. Those are hard discussions to have and I don’t know that we’re going to solve them today. But the problem is is that the testimony doesn’t stop there. The, the policies at your social media companies do not stop there. It doesn’t stop with the clear-cut lines of terrorism and terrorist videos and terrorist propaganda. Unfortunately, that’s not exactly what we’re talking about. It goes much further than that. It goes down the slippery slope of what speech is appropriate for your platform and the vague standards that you employ in order to decide what is appropriate.

And this is especially concerning given the recent news and the recent leaked emails from Google. They show that labeling mainstream conservative media as Nazis is a premise upon which you operate. It’s not even a question, according to those emails, the emails say, given that Ben Shapiro, Jordan Peterson and Dennis Prager are Nazis, given that that’s a premise, what do we do about it? Two of three of these people are Jewish, very religious Jews. And yet you think they are Nazis. It begs the question: what kind of education people at Google have so that they think that religious Jews are Nazis. Three of three of these people had family members killed in the Holocaust, Ben Shapiro is the number one target of the alt-right. And yet you people operate off the premise that he’s a Nazi. It’s pretty disturbing and it gets to the question, do you believe in hate speech? How do you define that or do you, can you give me a quick definition right now? Is it written down somewhere? Google, can you give me a definition of hate speech?

Derek Slater, Google Global Director of Information Policy: Yes. So hate speech again, as updated in our guidelines now extends to, uh, uh, superiority over protected groups to justify discrimination, violence, and so on based on, uh, a number of defining characteristics, whether that’s a race, sexual orientation, veteran status.

Crenshaw: Do you have an example of Ben Shapiro or Jordan Peterson, Dennis Prager engaging in hate speech? Give one example off the top of your head.

Slater: So, congressman, we evaluate individual piece of content based on that content rather than based on the speaker.

Crenshaw: Okay, let’s, let’s get to the next question. Do you believe speech can be violence? All right, though there’s, there’s not, not can you incite violence; that is very clearly not protected, but can speech just be violence? Do you believe that speech that isn’t specifically calling for violence can be labeled violence and therefore harmful to people? Is that possible?

Slater: Congressman, I’m not sure I fully understand the distinction you’re drawing. Certainly, again, incitement to violence or things that aren’t urgent, dangerous behavior, those are things that would be against our policies.

Crenshaw: Here’s, here’s, here’s the thing. When you call somebody a Nazi or you can make the argument that you’re inciting violence and here’s how, as a country, we all agree that Nazis are bad. We actually invaded an entire continent to defeat the Nazis. It’s normal to say Hashtag punch a Nazi because there’s this common thread among this in this country that they’re bad and that they’re evil and that they should be destroyed.

So when you’re operating off of that premise and it’s frankly, it’s a, good premise to operate on, well, what you’re implying then is that it’s okay to use violence against them. When you label them — when one of the most powerful social media companies in the world labels people as Nazis, you could make the argument that’s inciting violence. What you’re doing is wholly irresponsible.

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