The tightening of rules by YouTube has had concrete consequences for a Dutch celebrity: rapper Lange Frans. The video platform has removed its channel. It contained videos discussing conspiracy theories, but there were also music videos.
YouTube does not want to say for which statements the rapper’s account has been deleted, but points on a blog from last week announcing tougher rules against what it calls “harmful conspiracy theories.” YouTube calls in addition, “counteracting videos with misinformation and dangerous conspiracy theories” is a challenge.
“I think it’s a shame and I don’t think it’s fair that all my 59 videos have been removed”, the rapper told the NOS. “There are eleven podcasts, the rest are music videos from my oeuvre. Censorship is becoming very real these days. Unfortunately if you say something that is different, you will apparently be removed.”
The removal comes a few days after a broadcast of Arjen Lubach’s program about how conspiracy theories are spread by social media algorithms. Lange Frans had a leading role in that program, because he discusses conspiracy theories in a podcast. But YouTube says that the broadcast did not influence the decision to remove Lange Frans’ channel.
Stefan Kulk, associate professor of technology and law at Utrecht University, sees the action as part of a pattern. “You can see that tech platforms have become more active in recent months and are removing accounts, that’s also because of what is going on about the corona virus and the US presidential election.” They do more than a few years ago, Kulk notes.