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Lawsuit against YouTube for biased treatment of Black and Hispanic creators dismissed

Lawsuit against YouTube for biased treatment of Black and Hispanic creators dismissed

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A lawsuit filed against YouTube accusing it of restricting or removing videos from Black and Hispanic content creators simply due to their race, was dismissed yesterday, according to legal documents seen by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE. 

The proposed class action on behalf of non-white YouTube users was initially filed in June 2020.

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The plaintiffs alleged that despite defendants’ statements that YouTube’s moderation policies are race-neutral, the latter have targeted plaintiffs because of their race and viewpoints.

According to the legal documents, YouTube allegedly did so firstly by filtering and reviewing tools to profile the racial identity of plaintiffs and impose restrictions on plaintiffs’ videos by blocking access to those videos in ‘Restricted’ mode.

Second, the defendants were called out for ‘demonetising’ plaintiffs’ videos by preventing advertisements from running on those videos. Lastly, defendants allegedly engaged in several other practices such as ‘shadow banning’ videos and channels which is the removal of videos from search results.

These reasons, according to legal documents, were a violation of a contractual obligation under its terms of service to provide race-neutral content moderation.

U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said that YouTube promised only that its algorithm would not treat people differently based on their identities, not that the algorithm was infallible. He also said the plaintiffs relied on too small a sample of videos and for some, hurt their case more than helped, according to Reuters

One of the examples Chhabria cited, according to Reuters, was YouTube's restriction of one plaintiff's "makeup tutorial" on how to create Donald Trump's "distinctive look" which could reflect the plaintiff's mention of the Ku Klux Klan and describing lighter makeup colours as white supremacy colours.

The case was dismissed with prejudice, which meant it could no longer be brought again, after the complaint was amended five times, Reuters reported.

Earlier this month, Google was hit with a lawsuit alleging that it used data from millions of users online without their consent and that it violated copyright laws so that it could train and develop its artificial intelligence systems.

"It has very recently come to light that Google has been secretly stealing everything ever created and shared on the internet by hundreds of millions of Americans. Google has taken all out personal and professional information, our creative and copywritten works, our photographs, and even our emails—virtually the entirety of our digital footprint —and is using it to build commercial artificial intelligence (AI) products like Bard, the chatbot Google recently released to compete with OpenAI’s ChatGPT," the lawsuit read.

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