12:18pm PT by Eriq Gardner
Google Responds to Lawsuit Accusing YouTube of Censoring Conservatives
This week, Google was hit with a lawsuit from Prager University, run by radio talk show host Dennis Prager, claiming the tech giant is violating the First Amendment. The complaint filed in California alleges that YouTube is hardly neutral in its treatment of videos espousing liberal and conservative points of view. Prager U. alleges its videos are put into restricted mode, while other videos on similar topics — but from a liberal perspective — are not.
In a post on Friday, we discussed how this lawsuit is challenged, both from First Amendment jurisprudence as well as statutory blocks like Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. But we also spent considerable attention to Google's initial decision to decline comment on the lawsuit or to explain how its system works.
On Saturday, Google did come with some comment. Here's the statement in full:
"YouTube is an open platform and, to make it a great place for users, creators and advertisers, we provide different choices and settings. Restricted Mode is an optional feature used by a small subset of users to filter out videos that may include sensitive or mature content. Giving viewers the choice to opt in to a more restricted experience is not censorship. In fact, this is exactly the type of tool that Congress has encouraged online services to provide for parents and others interested in a more family-friendly experience online."