Censortech strikes again

We suggested a few weeks ago that “censortech” had spun out of control, with platforms starting to flag even mainstream dissent of the government-imposed lockdown strategy as problematic and in need of suppression.

Well, it seems, the faceless mandarins governing what does and does not make the grade on social media sites were only getting started.

News comes our way on Wednesday that a clip of an Institute of Ideas virtual panel featuring The Spectator’s Toby Young — who happens to be the general secretary of the “Free Speech Union” — has been removed from YouTube* for daring to question lockdown strategy…

The People’sTube told Young they had taken the clip down because of an investigation triggered by a single complaint, with the social media platform concluding the clip violated its community standards.

We’ve watched the panel and the decision is very hard to rationalise. The only justifiable case against the clip, which was only showing Toby Young’s comments, is that it was decontextualised from the counter-arguments expressed in the wider panel. His key argument, by the way, is that the strongest case against lockdown isn’t the economic case but rather the civil liberties case and the bad precedent it can set. But if decontextualisation is to be considered a thought crime worthy of deletion from the web, must not every media outlet shutter itself immediately? …

If you watch the clip, which Young has now posted on Bitchute, you will — we think — agree that the views being expressed could not really be considered extreme in any way.

Which requires us to be blunt. What’s happening here is literally the sort of thing we, the free press, are used to bemoaning in authoritarian states elsewhere.