YouTube faces backlash as progressive journalist claims tech giant ‘trying to push us off the platform’

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A progressive journalist is sounding the alarm about actions YouTube has taken against his news outlet as part of a broader effort to suppress independent voices on the platform. 

Jordan Chariton, the co-founder of Status Coup, took to Twitter on Thursday after facing yet another round of punishments from the Google-owned company. 

“After @YouTube @TeamYouTube has taken down 7-10 REPORTING videos from @StatusCoup of Trump supporters’ bogus election fraud claims—which we challenged—they’re now warning us we’ll get a strike and week ban if more are found,” Chariton tweeted with screenshots of the warnings sent by YouTube. 

“YouTube is really trying to push us off the platform,” Chariton added. 

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Chariton, a vocal supporter of Bernie Sanders during the 2020 presidential election, then wrote, “Honestly, the way things have been going on YouTube–with our subscriber growth and views NOSEDIVING because of its suppression of our content–I genuinely don’t know how much longer @StatusCoup can survive. 

Status Coup has gained support from other progressives and independent journalists on social media. 

“The people who have agitated and are still agitating for more and more online censorship — led by journalists at the NYT, CNN & NBC — are not only destroying the remnants of a free internet but also wrecking the livelihoods of many independent journalists: features, not bugs,” Glenn Greenwald wrote. 

“YouTube’s own algorithm has created an entire movement that believes bogus conspiracy theories—but if you interview the actual people they’ve poisoned, push back, and publish the interviews, they take down your channel,” The Intercept’s Ryan Grim said.

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“This is total bulls—,” The Hill’s Krystal Ball reacted.

“Independent media — particularly original on the ground reporting — is invaluable. Especially now,” former Sanders campaign press secretary Briahna Joy Gray wrote.

“YouTube’s dense disinformation policies – where documenting false claims to repudiate them is disallowed – should, at the very least, be enforced in a collaborative and open way rather than a punitive one,” independent video journalist Ford Fisher, who also has a long history of clashing with YouTube, stated in solidarity. 

The video in question was uploaded onto Status Coup’s YouTube page on March 5, and showed the outlet’s journalist challenging Trump supporters over election fraud claims at an event in New York City.

“It’s not a secret YouTube has been rigging its algorithm to essentially hide independent progressive news channels like Status Coup in favor of flooding users’ feeds with mainstream media outlets and cable news channels … This has been accepted and normalized but it shouldn’t be,” Chariton said during an interview with Fox News. “What’s new is YouTube now targeting independent journalists and punitively punishing them for their news COVERAGE. The fact that YouTube is now removing news coverage from independent journalists—who actually pushed back on Trump supporters’ election fraud claims—and threatening those journalists with strikes and potential removal, should outrage and chill anyone who actually cares about a free press.”

YouTube spokesperson Ivy Choy told Fox News that the Status Coup video “was removed in accordance with our presidential election integrity policy, which prohibits content uploaded after last year’s safe harbor deadline that alleges widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome of the 2020 U.S. presidential election.”

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“At this point it is clear in YouTube’s haste to purge disinformation, they are lumping in JOURNALISTS who covered events and challenged the claims of Trump supporters in with the people ADVANCING the claims. It’s preposterous,” Chariton pushed back.

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Chariton pointed to CNN video of a reporter asking Trump supporters why they think the presidential election was “stolen,” a video Chariton indicated was very similar to the one shared by Status Coup. 

The YouTube spokesperson told Fox News that, unlike CNN, Status Coup “did not provide sufficient educational, documentary, scientific or artistic context.”

Chariton, however, continued to protest YouTube’s policy enforcement. 

Silhouettes of mobile device users are seen next to a screen projection of Youtube logo in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration - RC1502FFC0B0

Silhouettes of mobile device users are seen next to a screen projection of Youtube logo in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration – RC1502FFC0B0

“The most ridiculous part … there is NO judicial process,” he insisted. “YouTube just removes the content and you press appeal but don’t actually ever get to speak to a human being. It’s all automated and there is no judicial process.”

The Status Coup CEO pointed to the outlet’s livestream of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, which was removed from its channel by YouTube despite the footage being licensed to major outlets like CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.

“We literally still have people reaching out to license the original Capitol attack livestream footage and it’s gone off YouTube,” Chariton said.

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When asked whether independent journalists can still make a secure living on its platform, YouTube insisted that “anyone can publish content,” including independent journalists, “as long as they follow our Community Guidelines.” 

“Independent journalists around the world have found a platform on YouTube,” the spokesperson told Fox News. “Status Coup itself has 108,000 subscribers and over 20 million views on their channel.”

Chariton, however, pointed to data shared by fellow left-leaning journalist Jackson Hickle, who tweeted data last month that showed a sharp decrease in average subscriptions across other independent progressive channels over the previous month. Status Coup, Chariton noted, took a whopping 133% hit. 

Chariton insisted that the “media blackout” of YouTube’s crackdown has only emboldened the tech giant.

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“I’ve seen nothing from media reporters and analysts at CNN, MSNBC, Washington Post – nor outlets that cover tech and Silicon Valley – on the targeted attack by YouTube against independent outlets consisting of severe suppression and censorship,” Chariton told Fox News. 

“The legacy mainstream media has essentially ignored the targeted suppression of independent media outlets’ content and now…purging/censorship,” Chariton continued, suggesting a cause and effect. “They are mainstream media journalists and their idea of freedom of the press seems limited to other mainstream, legacy media outlets.” 

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