More Censorship in the Offing

Amazon and YouTube are two companies peddling streamed videos, and they’re looking at “filtering” certain content.

An (unidentified) Amazon spokeswoman says

We continuously review and monitor titles to ensure that they are in accordance with our policies and guidelines. If content is identified as not meeting those standards, it is immediately removed.

YouTube, also:

[A] self-avowed creature of user-generated video, also has faced the challenge of policing objectionable content on its site.

Policing objectionable content.


It’s the same “challenge” faced by all sites, not only Amazon or YouTube, though, and it’s rank censorship.  Whose definition of “objectionable,” what “policing” techniques are used—with whose consent? Not the user, not a citizen.  This is a challenge best ignored altogether.

The Wall Street Journal, at the link above, also asked a question:

What steps, if any, should Amazon take to help viewers differentiate between professional and amateur content in its video library?

I’ll extend the question to include “objectionable” content, and the answer is plain: the same steps any site should take, and they’re similar to those taken since movies were invented: ID the producer(s), director(s), and leading actors, and if those names are unavailable, note that, too.

Viewers are fully capable of taking this information and determining for themselves what programming is legitimate or unobjectionable. It is, after all, their criteria of “legitimate” and of “objectionable” that matters, and these criteria are unique to each person.

In the end, it is, or should be, the viewer’s choice of what to watch, not the censors’.

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