Google on Wednesday said it would allow a post video interview with Capital Rioters to remain on YouTube — after the post exposed the platform’s censorship of clips in a front-page story that reported that The video helped to convict the man.
The latest Big Tech attempt to crush The Post’s reporting came on Monday when the Google-owned video site removed a taped interview inside the Capitol — saying Aaron Mostofsky, 35, of Brooklyn stifled “misinformation” .
The video, featuring Mostofsky, the son of Brooklyn judge Steven Mostofsky, was one of the only professional interviews he had with a rioter inside the Capitol on January 6, 2021. It was cited by several news outlets and the Justice Department used it to help prosecute. Mostofsky, who was sentenced last month to eight months in prison.
Mostofsky, who was wearing fur skins, a police vest and a riot shield, said he “found,” said in interviews that he joined the first wave of infiltrators because the election was “stolen” from then-President Donald Trump. who had just finished giving a speech with similar claims.
The interview was filmed as Vice President Mike Pence near the door of the Senate Chamber, lawmakers and most journalists fleeing a violent siege obstructing the certification of the 2020 election.
In a statement to The Post, Google on Wednesday attempted to justify its initial censorship by claiming a deleted page on the Post reporter’s private channel (archived here) contained enough “context” about Mostofsky’s false claim. Lacked that Trump had actually won the election.
The company said it would allow the same interview to remain on The Post’s YouTube page, where it was re-posted Tuesday to challenge censorship. The only change to the video was to add a watermark. Both versions had descriptions attached to post articles giving additional context.
“I’m reaching out as recent coverage in The New York Post about a video removed from a journalist’s private YouTube channel for violating our Community Guidelines on Election Integrity. This policy prohibits content that makes false claims. further that widespread fraud altered the outcome of the 2020 US presidential election, such as claiming that the election was plagiarized,” YouTube strategic partners manager Victor Melo wrote in an email.
“A similar video was recently uploaded on The New York Post’s channel as well. Although we do not allow content that violates the policy, we do make an exception for content that provides sufficient context. The version uploaded to the New York Post’s YouTube channel contains context and does not violate YouTube’s Community Guidelines. The version uploaded on the journalist’s personal YouTube channel does not provide enough context and will remain down.”
Google spokeswoman Ivy Choi separately defended the initial deletion.
“We removed this video to violate our electoral integrity policy, which prohibits content that advances false claims that widespread fraud has changed the outcome of the 2020 US presidential election,” Choi wrote. Like claiming that the election was stolen,” Choi wrote. “While we allow content that provides additional context, such as countervailing views in the description of a video, the content we removed from this channel was footage that did not provide sufficient context.”
The chaotic aftermath of the riots was viewed nearly 200,000 times before the original clip was purged 17 months after its publication. Censorship coincided with critical advertising of a primetime hearing Thursday by the Democrat-led House select committee probing the riots.
Ironically, the committee hearing will feature testimony from British documentary filmmaker Nick Quest, who left behind members of the far-right Proud Boys group when he stormed the Capitol. Google did not respond to inquiries about whether any of their work would be censored.
Free Speech Advocates condemned the removal of The Post’s interview by YouTube.
Nico Perrino, vice president of communications at the Foundation for Individual Rights, said “the fact that the interview was cited by other news outlets and used by the DOJ as a primary source for historians, other journalists, and the general public.” shows its importance.” and Expression, a major pro-free speech group.
“The memory of information is a historian and journalist’s worst nightmare,” Perino said.
“Labeling the expression of certain beliefs as ‘misinformation’ justifies the removal of that expression from content libraries and platforms,” he said. “It restricts our ability to understand people’s true motivations and therefore current and past events. In this case, the fact that the material that was removed was original reporting by a journalist, further supporting its removal.” Makes it more exciting.”
“This is a clear example of why demanding the rapid removal of more content from the platform doesn’t lead to better online discourse,” said Evan Greer, director of digital policy advocacy group Fight for the Future.
“Platforms that randomly apply vague rules on disinformation will always lead to this type of collateral damage for legitimate reporting and speech,” Greer said.
Google’s policy on election claims appears to apply unequivocally. For example, footage is available on YouTube of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton claiming that the 2016 election was “stolen” and that Trump was an “illegitimate president”.
This is not the first time The Post has successfully challenged the censorship of its reporting.
In October 2020, Facebook and Twitter censored articles in The Post on documents recovered from Hunter Biden’s laptop that linked Joe Biden to his son’s business dealings in China and Ukraine.
Facebook said it limited distribution of preliminary reports on laptops pending a “fact check” and Twitter blocked sharing of the link, claiming the content may have been hacked. Twitter took The Post off his account for two weeks, before later backtracking when The Post refused to comply with demands for the tweets to be removed.
Then-Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey acknowledged during a congressional hearing last year that it was a “total mistake” to block users from sharing a blockbuster scoop of the post and said that they had been off their own accounts for more than two weeks. Locking down the post was “a process error.” Billionaire Elon Musk recently struck a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter to reduce censorship.