Comedian Steven Crowder says YouTube suppressed Tulsi Gabbard search results during Hillary Clinton ‘foreign asset’ row
Conservative internet personality Steven Crowder has accused YouTube of suppressing search results for 2020 Democratic hopeful Tulsi Gabbard during her recent spat with former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
Following Clinton’s suggestion last Friday that Gabbard (D-Hawaii) was being “groomed” by foreign election-meddlers, the dovish congresswoman shot back with a harsh rebuttal labeling Clinton the “queen of warmongers,” but in a lengthy video posted on Tuesday, Crowder says YouTube concealed her content amid the dispute.
Using a virtual private network (VPN) to observe search results in different countries, Crowder claims to have found evidence that the platform demoted Gabbard’s official campaign videos for searches conducted in the US.
The first VPN test was carried out last Friday, comparing search results from the US and Spain, showing Gabbard’s channel and videos were buried far below other content in American queries at the height of her feud with Clinton.
A second test two days later, after the Clinton quarrel had calmed down, had a much different outcome, showing similar results between searches attempted in the two countries.
Crowder, who ran afoul of YouTube earlier this year and had his own channel demonetized, claims the platform deliberately throttled Gabbard’s content to limit her message in an attempt at “election meddling.”
Over the summer, Gabbard filed a lawsuit against YouTube’s parent company, Google, alleging the tech giant intentionally blocked her campaign ads on the heels of a Democratic presidential debate that – as shown by Google’s own search analytics – generated intense interest in her candidacy.Also on rt.com ‘Outrageous’: Bernie rejects Hillary Clinton’s ‘foreign asset’ smear on Tulsi Gabbard
A number of conservative commentators weighed in on the allegation, noting the “chilling effect” such suppression could have on anyone challenging “establishment politicians” and the Washington swamp.
This has the chilling effect of limiting Tulsi's reach on social media and priming the public for establishment politicians and media personalities that are "vetted" by the establishment.— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) October 22, 2019
“We all knew, now we have proof,” another commenter said.
Some in Crowder’s camp took issue with the claim, however, with New York congressional candidate Joey ‘Salads’ Saladino arguing that the comedian failed to prove what he alleged.
Steven Crowder Exposed, youtube has been censoring Tulsi Gabbard.I believe he is WRONG, if you search up almost any Presidential candidate, who has a youtube, "TOP NEWS" videos ALWAYS appear first.(note I am a Steven Crowder Fan)lmk if I am missing something here. pic.twitter.com/aDcIvhjA0B— Saladino for Congress (@JoeySalads) October 22, 2019
Another critic similarly challenged Crowder’s accusation, stating that his tests did not show any manipulation of search results, but rather a new feature on YouTube which prioritizes news items curated by its partner “fact checkers” over other videos. While YouTube says the feature was rolled out to combat “misinformation,” it nonetheless raises questions about how the platform chooses which stories to serve up to viewers, at the expense of other content.
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