In a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week, Republican lawmakers grilled a Google vice president, Karan Bhatia, over the tech giant’s alleged bias against conservatives, including alleged censorship of videos pertaining to the Ten Commandments and to Israel’s geopolitical vulnerability.
Dennis Prager, co-founder of the conservative organization Prager University and a key witness in last week’s hearing, testified that YouTube—a Google subsidiary—has restricted more than a fifth of the 320 videos uploaded by PragerU .
PragerU regularly creates 5-minute videos on various political, economic and philosophical topics from a conservative perspective, and posts them to its YouTube channel.
“Google has even restricted access to a video on the Ten Commandments,” Prager said. “We have repeatedly asked Google why our videos are restricted. No explanation is ever given.”
Frequent Decision contributor Michael Brown, a nationally syndicated Christian talk show host, has said that he believes many of the videos on his ASKDrBrown YouTube channel have been demonetized, specifically those that mention the word Islam in the title. Brown told the Christian Post in 2017 that he suspected the same occurred with a video interview he conducted with a former KKK grand wizard who became a Christian and is now an assistant pastor in a predominantly black church.
Christian pro-life activist Lila Rose says she has also been targeted.
Sen. Ted Cruz, subcommittee chairman, called the hearing to investigate alleged censorship of conservative organizations, individuals and ideas.
YouTube claims it restricts videos that contain content such as dangerous or threatening pranks, violent events, creation or use of hard drugs and instructions to kill or harm. But Bhatia noted that many videos placed in restricted mode are “perfectly acceptable to watch.”
In the specific instance of PragerU’s Ten Commandments video, Bhatia said it was restricted because it mentioned murder, albeit in the context of the sixth commandment.
A second video produced by PragerU about the history of the nation of Israel has also been restricted.
“The restrictions are purportedly for blocking things like pornography,” said Cruz. “Apparently in YouTube’s world, talking about the Ten Commandments and the nation of Israel is comparable.”
Later in the hearing, Cruz criticized Google’s executives for their blatant display of partisanship during the 2016 presidential election, with 88 executives contributing to Democratic-nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign, while zero backed Republican frontrunner Donald Trump.
This hearing follows a hearing Cruz held in April with officials from Facebook and Twitter to address issues of social media bias and censorship on their platforms.
Above: Dennis Prager, co-founder of PragerU