YouTube Excludes Gun Control Channels from Censorship

As we reported, YouTube has instituted a new policy for firearms-related content. ALL gun videos are automatically restricted — and thus demonetized and delisted by their search engine– until a YouTube censor views and approves them (a process that can take up to seven days). Well, not all firearms-related content . . .

The NRA’s [ad-free] videos are not restricted (i.e. they’re not removed from view or search when a user switches to restricted mode). This may have to do with the fact that the NRA spends tens of thousands of dollars advertising on YouTube. Or YouTube owner Google’s reluctance to tangle with the 5 million-strong gun rights group.

Also excluded from the automatic firearms-related content delisting process: [ad-free] videos by The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Everytown for Gun Safety and [their subsidiary] Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

That said, switching on restricted mode does exclude some of their videos. But only a relative few. And the channels ARE available in search in restricted mode.

To be clear: no video YouTube classifies as restricted receives any visibility in search when restricted mode is activated, or more importantly, any ad money. (See: TTAG’s blank screen above.)

Bottom line: YouTube is starving firearms-related channels of cash (e.g., The Military Arms Channel, Yankee Marshall). Their output is demonetized until YouTube adjudicates the content as “innocent.”

Make that “unless.” Three days after lodging an appeal, MAC’s Tim Harmsen reports that YouTube declared his video on belt-fed AR’s restricted. No further appeal is possible. It’s demonetized forever.

This is anti-gun censorship, plain and simple. Well, not so plain and not so simple. But YouTube’s new anti-firearms freedom policy is easier for the “Don’t Be Evil” folks to defend than an outright ban. Which is, I suspect, what they really really want.

comments

  1. avatar DrewR says:

    Let’s petition the NRA to take all of their ad money away from YouTube if the don’t change this ridiculous policy. That is kind of what they are supposed to do for us, right?

    1. avatar Steve in TX says:

      What everyone here should do is stop using as many Google products as possible. Google search, Gmail, chrome, etc.

      1. avatar jt says:

        Hard to do it again… did it years ago.

        Definitely add

        127.0.0.0 http://www.google.com

        to your hosts file!

        1. avatar Anon says:

          Anyone who knows how to edit their hosts file knows not to add the loopback 😉

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “Or go here:
          https://www.full30.com/

          Good stuff there. The downside is there is no sort capability; no tags to indicate new/old (no dates).

    2. avatar Craig A says:

      As long as hickok45 videos are prominently located – the gun advocates have the voice of reason on their side.
      That dude is amazing

    3. avatar Chris T in KY says:

      I’m glad the Libertarians support the right to “not associate”, that will completely destroy the pro firearms You Tube media. I understand that Google is working on not associating with the pro gun media as well. You Libertarians are really a piece of work.

  2. avatar Kenneth G Maiden says:

    Yet the teenie soft porn continues. WTF? Folks, we are at WAR.

    1. avatar RogUinta says:

      Please post search terms, because I sure haven’t found any porn.

      Yet.

      1. avatar former water walker says:

        Brazilian full wax…porn as porn can be😜

    2. avatar JohnnyIShootStuff says:

      As does the perverted Elsagate crap.

  3. avatar Pragmatic libertarian says:

    Property rights are as important as firearm rights. Rather than continuing the incessant drumbeat, the solution is to exit the platform for someone that doesn’t abhor gun rights.

    Google has zero (zilch, nada) obligation to allow any content. Or allow any monetized content. They can pick and choose because it’s their platform. I don’t know why the People of (editorial) TTAG don’t get this (aside from the obvious answer that y’all depend on other people’s platforms to a certain extent to make money).

    1. avatar HandyDan says:

      And it is completely in our rights to say that it is stupid, shortsighted, and unfair to have a double standard. The only thing morally wrong would be if we used the government to force them to display content that they didn’t want to. You see how that works?

    2. avatar -Peter says:

      You nailed it. Piss and moan all you want, people. Google can, will, and does do whatever it want with its site policies.

      Three choice:

      (1) Shut up and deal with it.
      (2) Raise an army of pissers and moaners and hope that the crowd can pressure Google into doing right. (Good Luck.)
      (3) Create and/or support a competitor to Google/Apple. They do exist.

      1. avatar pwrserge says:

        Option 4: Break up Goolag as the illegal monopoly that it is to create said alternate platforms.

      2. avatar MCQ says:

        —-> (3) Create and/or support a competitor to Google/Apple. They do exist.

        I don’t understand why everyone is so bent out of shape that Liberals are trying to undermine gun rights in a new way.
        It’s not like this is surprising. Someone with a well-established web presence needs to put-up and create a competitor for gun-related media. Fund it the same way Google does – advertising.

        1. avatar Madcap_Magician says:

          That’s what they said about social media, and someone went and made Gab.ai for conservatives. Turns out only the nuttiest of us went over there, and it’s barely functional.

    3. avatar pwrserge says:

      Because Goolag and YouTube are virtual monopolies. We’re not talking about a mom and pop grocer here. This is why libertarianism doesn’t work. Government is not the only threat to your rights.

      1. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

        Socialism and free markets are antithetical. Not only do socialist states fail, so do so called mixed economies. The US system is failing as it is. Just slower because the free market remnants are supporting it. Myself, I suspect all systems fail over time. What would you point to as an example of an especially durable and just system?

      2. avatar Vitsaus says:

        Perfectly said, sir.

      3. avatar The Punisher says:

        Everyone wants to look at the “mechanics” of libertarianism and say “whelp it won’t work”, but not consider the philosophical framework behind it first…

        If we, as a people or civilization or nation or tribe or whatever you want to call us, hold as sacrosanct the basics of: Do not trespass against private property, do not physically violate or harm anyone’s person, and I would add: give the government NO power to regulate anything or be involved in anything ever then I would think it would work out pretty well.

        (I would advocate for the privatization of defense and courts and arbitration.)

        But that said, the form of government doesn’t really matter as long as the tenants of liberty are valued by the people of the land and fought for vigorously and defended. A king, if he’s benevolent and values liberty, could be a perfectly good and just monarch and the whole kingdom may flourish under those conditions…but if he becomes a tyrant then woe to all…

        Our problem is that we have the government we deserve. We are too lazy as a people and don’t really care about our rights.

        Dissolution of the Empire and peaceful secession is the answer.

    4. avatar CLarson says:

      Demonetization is hardly the worst that can happen. Google can seize your domain name and boot you off the Internet entirely. Again, gun sites should have a disaster recovery plan in place for next time there is a high profile shooting because no one has the right to be on the Internet. We exist online at the pleasure of the SJW tech companies. Be careful of the tone of your editorials…

    5. avatar doesky2 says:

      Way past time for Google/YT to receive attention from the government in the form of an antitrust lawsuit to break it up.

    6. avatar Joshua says:

      You are right. YouTube is a private company and can do what they want, but when it comes to internet video hosting YouTube is a monopoly and must be treated as such, especially if they are going to use their power to selectively censor the voices of those who they disagree with politically.

    7. avatar joe3 says:

      “the solution is to exit the platform for someone that doesn’t abhor gun rights.”

      ^THIS^

      I just spent the evening watching some gun vids on Full30. It’s not perfect, but the ads are all from gun companies…

      And it’s not putting money in Gulag/ScrewTube’s pockets.

      1. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

        I think the solution for the channels on full30 is to just start making videos that say “go to full30 for our latest video about [whatever their latest video is about].

  4. avatar JohnnyL says:

    The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. And if one controls the source of information then they control the minds of the masses.

    1. avatar Wanderingninja says:

      Well said. And hedonism is what they are advocating for. I’m a fairly non judgemental person, but they are demonizing the armed American and family unit. I am live and let live. Google, Facebook and YouTube are saturated with moral-relativistic thought. If what you say is true, then authoritarian demagogues are going to capitalize on the snowflaking of this generation. Guns are also in the crosshairs so to speak.

  5. avatar Felix says:

    And the Nazis are banned too, I bet — but not the Marxists, who murdered ten times as many people last century and still murder them today.

    As much as this pisses me off, they are laying the seeds of their own destruction. Section 230 of whatever law makes common carriers (or whatever the Internet equivalent is) not liable for defamatory, libelous, etc posts — and just as the government can’t choose to censor by content, so this private censoring by content may well leave them open to charges that they do in fact edit content and otherwise exercise editorial control, and it would not surprise me if this convinces Congress to weaken section 230, or lead to various lawsuits alleging that they have abrogated their protection under section 230.

    And in the free market, we all know how this slippery slope stuff goes. Once tingled by a little self-righteous power, it’s hard to let go and not grab more. They started with firearm ads, they’ve advanced to political ideologies they don’t like, and I will not be surprised if truly neutral competitors start popping up. At that point, they will have to choose between becoming more neutral to combat the threat, or going full retard. I know which way my money is betting.

    1. avatar pwrserge says:

      Until the Goolag monopoly is forcefully broken up, the discussion of an alternate platform is, at best, academic.

  6. avatar burley says:

    well, to test, I just opened an incognito window where I was not signed in to youtube and was able to see pretty much all of my favorite gun channels just by searching for a particular type of gun.

    1. avatar raz-0 says:

      Don’t trust the incognito windows as giving you a real version of what joe random newbie sees. My kid watches the heck out of certain youtube channels. On various smart devices with no account signed in, he gets very similar recommendation results. Google is clearly making search results and recommendations based on more than account and cookies. You’d need to take a clean device to a new network to get a sense of what someone new to shooting might see if they go looking.

      1. avatar Burley says:

        The OP was that these videos were not visible based on search in restricted view. SO, while what you say is technically correct, it’s not relevant in this situation. I did see a difference in the search, but it was completely devoid of gun goodness.

  7. avatar rdsii64 says:

    If the NRA doesn’t pull their add revenue, this will be a prime example of why they won’t get my money anymore.

  8. avatar Geoff PR says:

    If YouTube decided to make a corporate policy that videos that contained Black people in them would be demonitized or not listed in searches, would they be violating the law?

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      Yes, because there are specific statutes that bar discrimination based on race, among other things. But there is no law that bars discrimination based on guns or gun speech. Gun owners have not been subject to historic “invidious discrimination.”

      Unless the law changes to define gun owners as a “suspect class” similar to those protected classes, which is unlikely, what Google does is legal. This may change if it is established that Google has become a “public forum,” and that changes the rules with respect to First Amendment rights.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        “Gun owners have not been subject to historic “invidious discrimination.” ”

        I’d say gun owners are suffering systematic “invidious discrimination” right *now* by the Leftists.

        The 2A if a full-fledged CIVIL RIGHT, the same as the other 9…

        1. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

          “The 2A if a full-fledged CIVIL RIGHT, the same as the other 9…”

          That got me thinking as to how many constitutionally protected rights we have. There’s three or four in the 1A, two in the 2A, one in the 3A, at least two in the 4A, at least four in the 5A, nine in the the 6A, two in the 7A, three in the 8A, an infinitely arguable amount in the 9A, and not really any in the 10A. (The 10A basically says anything not covered by the Constitution is either a power of the state or a right of the people).

          That’s at least 25 full fledged civil rights just in the bill of rights.

        2. avatar CarlosT says:

          There are five rights in the First Amendment:
          1) Freedom of religion
          2) Freedom of speech
          3) Freedom of the press
          4) Freedom of assembly
          5) Petition for redress of grievances

          I think it would be a really awesome thing if every high school kid could parse out the rights guaranteed by not only the Bill of Rights, but the Constitution generally.

        3. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

          I think I combined freedom of speech and press, and I definitely forgot petition for redress of grievances. Good catch. It could be argued that there is also a freedom from religion right in the 1A. I started looking at the amendments after the third. And this doesn’t even get into the amendments after the 10th or a combination of the amendments to create a “penumbra” of “privacy” rights.

        4. avatar Geoff PR says:

          “I think it would be a really awesome thing if every high school kid could parse out the rights guaranteed by not only the Bill of Rights, but the Constitution generally.”

          Agreed Carlos, but the problem with that is, do you trust the Leftist-controlled education system to do that instruction in an un-biased manner?

          *I* damn sure don’t…

  9. avatar million says:

    So Youtube is restricting and demonitizing educational firearms videos while giving the abstinence-only crowd a (nearly) free pass. Hey, that worked for drugs and sex ed so it’s gotta work for guns too. Right, Youtube?

  10. avatar goofball69 says:

    For what it’s worth, it’s not only the gun channels that are being demonetized. There are lots of animal rescue channels (Viktor Larkhill, Vet Ranch, etc.) that show the most amazing and yet most disturbing animal rescue videos. Stuff like surgery and rehab of dogs and cats with horrible injuries and illnesses. Those videos have been demonetized too — you can see the Viktor Larkhill guy asking for donations on Patreon.

    Although I’m sure there’s an element of censorship and social justice warrior thinking on the part of Google and YouTube, I also think that their actions are a sign of “organizational maturity” and coming to reality, if you will. They need to make money, and they have decided that like the mainstream media, the NFL, etc., they aren’t going to make it by showing “controversial” material like dog and cat surgeries, hickok45 shooting the gong, or yet another video of grown men running in the desert acting like they’re in the infantry. Instead, they are going to be as bland and banal as any other media and advertising firm, which in the end is WHAT THEY ARE.

  11. avatar C.S. says:

    On a somewhat related note. I just dropped Sling in favor for DirectTV Now. I now have FoxNews and OANN… win!

  12. avatar Swilson says:

    Well maybe this will force change for the good, i.e. more traffic over at full30. IDK about others experience with that site, but other than taking a bit longer to load, seems good to me.

    1. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

      I didn’t like their organization of videos. It may have changed since the last time I was there.

  13. avatar Higgs says:

    I wonder it enough pro gun people started reporting anti sites for hurting our feeling with their provabaly false facts if it would cause an overload for their video revieing staff.

  14. avatar Jonathan Cross says:

    Platforms such at YouTube and Facebook, because of their ubiquity, should be declared to be the equivalent of a public utility, and therefore rights of expression and economic benefit by those who use the platform declared as constitutionally protected under the equal protection clause of the Constitution.

  15. avatar MarkPA says:

    What happens if we PotG go to the gun-control pages and start clicking on the ads?

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “What happens if we PotG go to the gun-control pages and start clicking on the ads?”

      As I understand it, that pays the gun control channel a cut from the ads, and costs the advertisers per-click…

  16. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    So the liberal tyrant up the street, who you hate, who hates you, invited you to his party. You decided to attend in the hopes there would be free cake. He let you in the door, but guess what? No free cake for you! Nope, the cake is only for his real friends.

    Someday, you’ll learn to decline such invitations. Maybe throw your own party instead.

  17. avatar ryanol says:

    If your building future revenue plans built upon exposure to Facebook/Instagram or Youtube audiences -probably a good idea to hedge your bets. Regardless of whether you create firearm content or not -you’re not going to have access to the audience for free much longer.

  18. avatar Cory C says:

    What other alternative platforms exist? Is there any other place that gun bros can freely and easily post gun stuff to?

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      The platform is called the internet. Got a video you want people to see? Get your own URL, pay for hosting (or run your own server), upload videos that play on your web site.

      Want to make money at that? Then hire your own sales department and find your own advertisers. It’s how the world worked before YooToobe.

      As far as platforms that attach their advertising to your videos and share some paltry portion of their revenue with you, well, the choices are limited.

      1. avatar OODAloop says:

        Sounds great, right up to the point where your provider (host, co-location, etc) decide to de-platform you. It is currently happening to many alt-right web sites as we speak. Want a Patreon account to make up the lost money from YouTube? Great, up to the point where Patreon pulls your account for a bogus “Terms of Service” breach.

        There is a concerted effort by progressives to de-platform and de-legitimize anything the alt-left doesn’t like. Guns, free speech, white culture, pro-life, etc. You name any subject on the alt-right side and the alt-left is doing their damnedest to get rid of it (or call it a Nazi). It is all out war and the alt-right needs to understand they better get some $$$ moving to start funding other platforms than Google, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Patreon and others before they entirely get shut out.

  19. avatar Carlwinslo says:

    I still cant believe the NRA has only 5million members, and we brag like thats a lot. Hell planet fitness has 8 million members.

  20. avatar James Earl Hoffa says:

    I just got off the phone with the NRA and I was asking them what they propose they’re going to do about the five million dollars a year they spend on YouTube when YouTube restricts gun owners from putting up videos. Their reply was we do not have a comment at this time. I think that’s a pretty crap ass answer to a life member. I almost had them cancel my life membership this is absolutely ridiculous that a organization that fights for gun rights in America and across the world would let such a great deal of their money go into the hands of straight-up anti-gun people. I call a big BS on this one I suggest everyone call the NRA and talk to their representative and voice their complaint about the action that is not being taken towards YouTube directly.

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      “cancel my life membership”

      Hehe.

      You would be expecting a pro-rated refund or something?

    2. avatar Southern Cross says:

      The NRA will send YouTube a stern telegram.

  21. avatar Sam I Am says:

    Non-government entity; they write the rules.

  22. avatar Antonio Luevano says:

    I would move to the vid.me platform.
    Monetization, easier TOS.

  23. avatar Ed Rogers says:

    Monetization across the board has been reduced.

    I sincerely hope Full30, Vimeo and other competitors seize the advantage.

  24. avatar Buffman-RANGE says:

    Yet YouTube lets people freeboot people’s content all day long to monetize and earn revenue off someone else’s work :\

    They yellow signed a lot of my pork shoulder videos 🙁

  25. avatar ST5 says:

    The only good new out of this is that many of the firearms channels have set up accounts on Patreon, so if you like the channels you can go there and support them.

  26. avatar Joe says:

    What I find more disturbing is there are still ads on the gun videos yet google is just pocketing all the money. It seems criminal to me

  27. avatar Warlocc says:

    Places like Bing exist vs Google. I use Bing quite a bit.

    Also, you have vimeo, dailymotion, and others vs YouTube. There are alternatives, if we’d just use ’em.

  28. avatar Louis says:

    Ian at Forgotten Weapons pointed out the big problem with having to wait seven days for an appeal. By the time the seven days is over your regular viewers have all watched the viewer so none of them are monetized.

  29. avatar BigDawgBeav says:

    It’s bad enough that they changed the revenue model for YT. While my videos were not burning up the charts, I was getting a payment every couple of months. I haven’t seen a payment in several months now because of that change. Luckily, my videos are still showing as monitized. Granted, I haven’t uploaded anything in a week so I guess we’ll have to see what happens on Sunday.

  30. avatar John McPherson says:

    It is time to have social media classified as a “Public Accommodation” and make them play by the rules other PAs have to live by.

  31. avatar goofball69 says:

    It’s important not to get too worked up over this situation, as lousy as it may seem at first. Google and YouTube are not monopolies, they are not focusing only on gun videos, and like any other business they need to make money. They are just like any other advertising firm — they want videos that are ad-friendly and that are easy to consume.

    In a way, this is analogous to the physical world. You don’t see smoke shops, gun shops, and taxidermists in large shopping malls, because the landlords don’t want them there. Instead, those kinds of shops end up “on the other side of town”, in out-of-the-way places that require special effort to reach. That doesn’t mean that those places are seedy dumps, but it does mean that you won’t find a food court or Sunglass Hut sitting next to the gun store.

    If you don’t like the setup, then do as other posters have described — put up your own website and host your own videos. To be quite blunt, this is the way things are going anyway. If Google continues the way they have been going, then YouTube in 5 years will be just like the big shopping malls of today — filled with generic junk videos that nobody wants to see and channels (shops) that few people will care to visit.

  32. avatar Brandon says:

    This not true I’m a gun channel youtuber and still making money

  33. avatar Arthur says:

    Look for sites that Google does not control. There is a new site called Breach.tv. Start putting videos there and help a startup grow.

  34. avatar Jeremy says:

    There are a few points that seem to be lost here. Youtube isn’t banning the content, all they are doing is not helping to monetize it. Do you really want sponsors that don’t want to advertise with you, on your content? The solution is to find other sources of revenue. Personally, I am a big fan of Patreon, as I can support content creators I like directly. This seems like a good solution to me. Youtube can host the videos, or another provider, if you can find one, but I pay the person who created the content I like. Other groups can support specific content, as well. For example, if the NRA wants to fund some creators, that would also help to solve the problem.

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