Over the last few years, the Epoch Times, a newspaper founded two decades ago by dissidents who fled communist China for America, became one of former President Donald Trump’s most ardent defenders.
But once Trump was no longer president, YouTube decided the Times no longer needed a platform.
In recent days the Times has been sending out fundraising letters. The hook? It was demonetized on YouTube meaning it could no longer profit from its ads, the lifeblood of almost any journalistic enterprise.
In a statement issued on Jan. 29, the Times noted, “We are concerned, however, about the direction that YouTube has taken in recent months, which appears to be to increasingly limit freedom of speech and expression.”
“The founders of The Epoch Times are Chinese Americans who fled communist China and embraced their First Amendment rights here in the United States to create an independent and uncensored news organization. We believe that freedom of speech is the cornerstone of a free society and key for our republic to flourish,” the statement continued.
“The recent censorship by big tech companies in the United States has shocked the world. The image of our country as a leader in freedom is at stake. We hope that a leading company such as YouTube does not fail the expectations of the world’s people who look up to America for its freedom.”
The problem is that no one but YouTube knows why, and it’s not saying.
Breitbart News, one of the few outlets to report on YouTube’s punishment of the Times, received a comment from a YouTube spokeswoman. Breitbart said it was told: “We have demonetized The Epoch Times’ YouTube channel and affiliated channels and suspended them from the YouTube Partner Program. All channels on YouTube need to comply with our Community Guidelines and in order to monetize, channels must comply with the YouTube Partner Program policies, which include our Advertiser-Friendly Guidelines. Channels that repeatedly violate these policies are suspended from our partner program.”
According to a YouTube “help” webpage posted by Google, which owns YouTube, there are 13 different guidelines.
Yet, as Breitbart reported, “YouTube did not identify which video(s) from the Epoch Times violated the platform’s policies.”
No wonder YouTube’s behavior has the Times’s founders feeling not right at home.