[lg policy] Is You Tube Censoring Spanish-Language Cannabis Content?

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Tue Apr 24 10:31:48 EDT 2018


 Is YouTube Censoring Spanish-Language Cannabis Content?
[image: William Sumner]William Sumner
<https://www.greenmarketreport.com/author/wsumner/>April 23, 20185min1
<https://www.greenmarketreport.com/is-youtube-censoring-spanish-language-cannabis-content/#comments>

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Business <https://www.greenmarketreport.com/category/business/>Daily Hit
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The Daily Hit: April 23, 2018
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------------------------------

Every day around the world, content is being created and deleted in a
never-ending cycle that mirrors our own circle of life. For the most part,
the content that gets deleted from social media platforms, such as YouTube
<http://www.youtube.com> or Facebook, gets deleted for good reason.
Sometimes the content is illegal or it violates community policy. But then
sometimes content gets deleted for the wrong reasons, political reasons.

And when content gets deleted for political purposes, those affected are
left crying foul and wondering what is it they did to earn their deletion.
One need only look as far as Marihuana Television
<http://marihuanatelevision.tv/>, a Spanish-language YouTube Channel, to
find a perfect example.

For many Spanish-speaking cannabis users, Marihuana Television is their
go-to source for all things cannabis. Featuring how-to guides and
up-to-date news, Marihuana Television looks like any other mainstream
YouTube channel but with cannabis; which is why many were shocked to find
that the channel had been deleted with no explanation.

Although cannabis itself is illegal in most of the developed world,
cannabis content is not. While you may not be able to purchase a cannabis
ad on Facebook or YouTube; you can watch, create and share cannabis
contently freely on the internet. On YouTube alone, there are hundreds of
thousands of cannabis-centered channels, which is what makes Marihuana
Television’s deletion all the more strange.

Typically in order to determine whether or not to ban/delete an account or
channel, YouTube uses a strike system. If a user violates YouTube community
standards or violates copyright law, the user will get a strike. Just like
baseball, it’s three strikes and you’re out; unless it’s a particularly
egregious violation, in which case the user is instantly banned.

But by all accounts, Marihuana Television was compliant with YouTube
policy. There was no warning and there were no strikes, the channel was
simply deleted. The creative minds behind Marihuana Television think the
channel’s deletion is part of a wider effort on behalf of YouTube to censor
Spanish-language cannabis content on the platform, and in a statement, they
issued a fiery condemnation of the site.

“From Marihuana Television we want to denounce cannabis censorship, freedom
of expression and information after the closure of our channel. During the
last 6 years, our Youtube channel has been a reference of information on
the cannabis culture in Spanish,” reads the statement. “Therefore,
Marihuana Television will continue to be faithful to its founding
principles. We will keep fighting for the right to inform the millions of
people throughout the world who use marijuana in a responsible way.”

Although tracking the exact number of cannabis videos and channels that
have been unfairly deleted on YouTube is incredibly difficult, if not next
to impossible, there is some anecdotal evidence to bolster the claims made
by Marihuana Television.

Some Spanish-language cannabis YouTube channels similar to Marihuana
Television, such as Growbarato <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjOwAwv9zFE>
and Lamarihuana.com <https://www.youtube.com/user/lamarihuanaweb>, have
found themselves either deleted or issued strikes from YouTube in recent
weeks. Other channels, such as Undergrow TV
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qw31oWByMjw>, have issued their own
statements condemning the censorship and some have started petitions asking
YouTube to stop
<https://www.change.org/p/google-inc-youtube-stop-censoring-channels-related-to-marijuana>
their censorship of cannabis-related videos.

Although the path forward for the people behind Marihuana Television is not
entirely clear, the group is currently considering taking legal action if
possible. For the time being, however, Marihuana Television will continue
creating content, only this time it will be shared on Vimeo
<https://vimeo.com/marihuanatelevision> instead of YouTube.

-- 
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 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com
http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~haroldfs/

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