Cut from the Same Cloth: New YouTube CEO Neal Mohan Has Anti-Free Speech Track Record

February 20th, 2023 5:23 PM

One of these executives seems just like the other. While YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has stepped down, her successor is just as anti-free speech.

While the resignation of anti-free speech YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki seemed a cause for rejoicing, MRC Free Speech America also warned that her replacement Neal Mohan has previously voiced support for censorship. Wojcicki said Mohan used to head YouTube’s Trust and Safety team, which is responsible for making censorship policies and enforcing them, according to Reclaim the Net.

Mohan has been at the forefront of YouTube's censorship apparatus, even bragging about its efficiency.

Mohan “would often promote and defend controversial YouTube policies” during Wojcicki’s tenure as CEO, Reclaim the Net reported. For instance, Mohan announced YouTube’s decision in December 2019 to delete Steven Crowder videos retroactively because they apparently violated the platform’s then-new harassment policy, despite Crowder’s videos predating the policy. More recently, in 2022, Mohan explained YouTube’s “preemptive” censorship of supposed “misinformation.”

“The hitman has now become the mob boss,” said Vice President of MRC Free Speech America and MRC Business Dan Schneider. “It’s the social media version of mobster John Gotti elevating Sammy the Bull Gravano to underboss. But in the end, justice was served on the mob, and Big Tech is heading for a similar reckoning.”

The outlet further explained, “In 2020, Mohan announced several censorship initiatives including an ‘Intelligence Desk’ that targets emerging ‘conspiracy theories’ and a ban on videos that ‘might’ encourage people to ignore stay-at-home advice. He also confirmed that YouTube’s strict coronavirus misinformation policy would apply to the comments section.” Mohan had already announced YouTube’s controversial “creator-on-creator” harassment rules in 2019.

Mohan has also repeatedly defended the much-critiqued YouTube policy to boost what it deems to be “authoritative” sources artificially over independent content creators, Reclaim the Net reported. The outlet quoted Mohan in 2020 claiming that content creators “espousing” opinions “in their basement” were not trustworthy for providing context to COVID-19 news. YouTube quietly changed its COVID-19 misinformation policy in 2022 after several previously censored statements made by COVID-19 skeptics turned out to be credible.

Mohan, in 2022, described censorship of Russian disinformation as “a constant ongoing endeavor” and has consistently used leftist buzzwords to justify censorship like “misinformation,” Reclaim the Net reported.

Mohan and Wojcicki have worked together for years, first when Wojcicki brought Mohan on at Google in 2007 and then as executives for Google-owned YouTube. Unfortunately, Mohan’s past suggests he is likely to be just as much an enemy to free speech as Wojcicki was.

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