YouTube users are reporting that any comments they make about violence at Black Lives Matter protests seem to disappear just seconds after they are posted.
According to Reclaim the Net, a free speech tech website, using the phrase “Black Lives Matter violence” in a YouTube comment results in the instant removal of that comment. The Media Research Center commented this phrase on a random video, only to have it immediately deleted. No notification of that removal was given to the user. The comment simply disappeared.
Reclaim the Net also found that users were allowed to comment about Black Lives Matter and violence, just not in relation to each other. Other users stated on Google’s support platform that they were having similar issues. One user said, “I started to check what words were censored. These are the one I found (probably more) ‘black lives matter violence’, ‘black lives matter crime’, ‘black crime’, ‘black violence.’ If you write these words they are removed within 20 seconds.”
The Media Research Center reached out to Google and YouTube but did not receive comment.
Google, YouTube’s sister company, has expressed much support for the racial inequality movement. Google CEO Sundar Pichai tweeted on May 31, “Today on US Google & YouTube homepages we share our support for racial equality in solidarity with the Black community and in memory of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery & others who don’t have a voice. For those feeling grief, anger, sadness & fear, you are not alone.”
YouTube also made changes to its platform in support of the protests. The company changed its logo on Twitter and tweeted, “We stand in solidarity against racism and violence. When members of our community hurt, we all hurt. We’re pledging $1M in support of efforts to address social injustice.”
Previously, YouTube users — including Oculus founder Palmer Luckey — have pointed out that the platform deleted comments automatically that discussed the internet propaganda division of the Chinese Communist Party.