Chilling Effects Cause Dark Sites

In the aftermath of Google’s recent firing of James Damore, much of the criticism of the company has focused on its utterly hypocritical and alarming approach to free political speech by perceived political enemies, particularly on sites like YouTube, where videos featuring disfavored political views may soon be placed in a digital no-man’s land.

Conservatives and right-leaning YouTube commentators have cried bloody murder, and rightly so. However, while a focus on this is encouraging and entirely appropriate, it completely understates the scope of Google’s willingness to crack down on free speech on YouTube in a misguided attempt to subject the website to the constipated, sanitized standards of “advertiser friendliness.” One case study in particular suffices to illustrate this problem – namely, the case of horror fiction channel “Chilling Tales for Dark Nights.”