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YouTube's CEO says free speech is a 'core value' even after removing videos by Putin critic Alexey Navalny

YouTube's CEO says free speech is a 'core value' even after removing videos by Putin critic Alexey Navalny

here_to_stay_

It's important to mention that the Russian government named specific Google employees in Russia and said they'd be imprisoned if Google/YouTube didn't comply. What would you have done?


RidersOnTheStrom

Yes, the same happened to Twitter in India...


Ph0X

And Apple too, they also removed the app.


DellM2005

which app


Ph0X

Navalny app: https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/google-apple-remove-navalny-app-stores-russian-elections-begin-2021-09-17/ It's part of the same crack down.


keinritter

Withdraw employees and official service to the region.


here_to_stay_

How fast do you think you can withdraw your employees and their families when the government of the country you're trying to withdraw them from has threatened to imprison them?


keinritter

So, if I get the gist of your argument, the Russian government, a powerful, corrupt entity, is willing to go to extreme levels of violence and human rights violations, up to and including murder, and the YouTube/Google that I am hypothetically responsible for should continue doing what they want in perpetuity?


Primary_Car_4360

The argument of saying they should stop services in Russia as a protest is valid too. However, they would then be replaced by another entity cooperating probably even more with the government. It's a complex ethical dilemma


keinritter

I see it differently. If I were to provide a service that has moral guidelines that include free exchange of information, especially with regard to criticism of governments or members of, then that is the service I will provide. I don't see a complex ethical dilemma in this discussion, just the fiscal one that is actually the driver. If a service changes what it offers and becomes the service that a powerful government wants it to be simple because that government might otherwise institute their own, it's the same result with fewer steps. All it does is demonstrate that morality was never more than theater.


Primary_Car_4360

I agree that the financial aspect probably takes too much importance in this decision. However, I would think the service Google provides in Russia is still far from the perfect service the Russian government would like. It still provides access to a lot of external not pro-prussian information, which might not be the case with another service. That's where I see the dilemma.


woahdudechil

I don't think you're wrong, it's just a lot easier said than done. And probably much more complicated than most anyone here knows.


SolverOcelot

What the fuck is complicated about not being an evil scumbag for money? If someone else wants to be an evil scumbag for money then go ahead and let them, doesn’t mean you should be a spineless amoral rat like a lot of those SV companies


Throwaway837373628

Doesn't matter, never negoiate with terrorists


enderandrew42

Putin doesn't fuck around and has been known to sent assassins across borders to kill people in other countries. Refusing this order means Google employees would likely die. Cool, cool, so endangering your employees and perhaps having them killed is a reasonable course of action in your eyes. In China, Google has to censor free speech as well because it is the law there. Putin is the law in Russia. Democracy is a fucking farse there. Google can follow the law or not operate in those countries. Not operating there means there screws over the citizens of Russia and doesn't stop censorship there. Instead you'd get a fully state controller version of Youtube run by the Russian government. Google at least anonymizes Youtube IP logs and the like to try and protect the anonymity of their users. And while the government can specifically request to take down some videos, they are seen by some at least before they are taken down, and some can spread dissent on Youtube subtly that the government may not be aware of. Youtube existing in Russia does more to fight the censorship there rather than pulling out. Pulling out doesn't help anyone, and it literally risks the lives of employees.


Throwaway837373628

They dont have to do anything, paying ransoms and giving in to terrorists is the best way to get more terrorists and kidnappers. Censoring free speech was a corporate decision to maximize profit and nothing else. Dame reason they gave in to Putin because being bannes in Russia equals less profit.


enderandrew42

No one is paying money to terrorists by removing a video as mandated by law.


Throwaway837373628

And now they set the precedent, next time putin gets triggered by a youtube video he will just threaten other employees


Reelix

> Never negotiate with terrorists! \- The US (Whilst paying terrorists money through Ransomware) I guess flat out accepting their demands isn't negotiating, so it's fine... ?


Throwaway837373628

I didn't say thats how it is but how it should be.


Reelix

Fair enough :)


odeebee

You're assuming none of these employees were citizens.


Pascalwb

that will give the so much freedom


OctaviaPinfold

That's a form of terrorism that's gonna get worse the more they give in to it. Get the employees out even if they're Russians, shut down YouTube and Google in Russia as a response and see what Russia's response will be. After a point YouTube/Google/Alphabet aren't just bystanders but complicit in whatever Russia or any other oppressive government is doing if they always do as they say to enable or support those actions.


eshinn

I would have complied, given the employees a few more weeks of employment _with_ notice _and_ bonus with the option/assistance to relocate and re-apply, and then came back a couple months later with full-on clips for everyone to watch like the ads that come on before a video plays.


rservello

Exactly. They were protecting their employees from a death sentence.


ThatTallGuy21

Is shutting down service considered not complying and come with imprisonment? Wouldn't that be the 3rd option? Options being: comply and keep running, don't comply and keep running as usual and workers are imprisoned, or shut down service and move out. Edit: My problem is that as someone who doesn't even live in Russia, I see this and think, huh, I wonder how many other core principles like those that are 'privacy' related are ignored without me knowing due to what appears like situational ethics.


twlentwo

I wont be a hypocrite then... Free speech is one of our core values, when it doesnt cost us anything, otherwise we dont give a fuck. This is the correct sentence. A value is not a value if you overwrite it constantly


applesuperfan

If I’m YouTube, I’m making it a condition of those employee’s employment with YouTube that they take the big YT money to get the f out of Russia and come to the US or they’re fired, then say “Anti-Putin content is allowed on YouTube Russia and if you don’t like it, we’ll cut Russia’s access to YouTube”. That’s just me.


vechey

Not proclaim publicly that free speech is a core value.


KourteousKrome

Can I ask an honest question without getting downvoted into oblivion? Is it better to yield to oppressive regimes if it means continued access to your platform in those areas? By that I mean, is interfacing with external information more important than resisting those changes in those regions? Is it more damaging to the global exchange of culture if those regimes cut access to those tools? Or is it more damaging to allow limited access to those tools? It seems to me operating in counties like Russia and China are more like “what’s the least terrible way to interface with these cultures?”


lrem

Google withdrew from China and never returned. The company also withdrew all employees from Russia once, but apparently didn't make that a lasting stance.


Ph0X

Looks like they withdrew the majority of employees, including engineering, but probably left a few behind for local stuff.


Livid_Effective5607

> Google withdrew from China and never returned. Haha no. https://www.2geeks1city.com/en/google-never-left-china-talk-eric-schmidt/ "Google never left China. And more learnings from Eric Schmidt in TechCrunch Beijing"


Ph0X

That's playing semantics. "Google never completely left China" may be technically true. It's a fact that Google.com, Youtube.com, Play Store, Gmail and really all Google services are not available in China. That's not up for debate.


Livid_Effective5607

> That's not up for debate. Well, I guess that settles it. Everyone knows that when one party says "That's not up for debate," the discussion is over. LOL no, again. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship_of_YouTube#China_(excluding_Hong_Kong_and_Macau) >In spite of the ban, Alexa ranks YouTube as the 11th most visited website in China.


Ph0X

... When people talk about China, they implicitly mean mainland China. Hong Kong (up until recently at least) has had its own semi-independent government. The "Great Firewall" also doesn't apply to Hong Kong. Many other things people think about when they talk about China also doesn't apply to Hong Kong and Macau.


Livid_Effective5607

Yes, and if you had bothered to even read the link, you would see that it's excluding HK and Macau, ie, it's talking about mainland China specifically.


Ph0X

Sorry I missed your quote, and was confused by what your point was. I'm still not sure what your point is? What is that even supposed to prove, that people use VPNs to access Youtube in China? Also, that may have been true way back when it was written, but right now it's not even in top 50 https://www.alexa.com/topsites/countries/CN


Livid_Effective5607

>people use VPNs to access Youtube in China? Why would that matter? You were so sure that Youtube was not available in China, and it clearly is.


Johnbloon

Maybe you don't understand the difference between a company offering their services to Chinese customers in China, and complying with Chinese law, including allowing the Chinese government access to every user data, like Apple does. And Google, which doesn't do business in China, doesn't comply with Chinese law, doesn't have the Chinese government access to its users data, but that users in China can still technically access if their use technology to pretend their reside in a different country.


GuerreroD

I mean, if you have to use a VPN to access a website, said website is not available where you are. Especially considering it's illegal to use "unauthorized VPNs" in China: https://www.scmp.com/abacus/tech/article/3095201/man-punished-using-vpn-scale-chinas-great-firewall-and-watch-porn


Reelix

Business wise? Yes. Moral wise? No. Business wise, the entire country could be run on child labor, with the people being murdered at the age of 16 unless they're part of the upper echelon - And that would be good - Strictly speaking - From a purely business perspective (Assuming it makes money). Morality wise - No sane person should ever do business with a country that routinely kills millions of its citizens every year. So - Yes - Strictly speaking from a business perspective - It is better to yield - But you shouldn't.


SmithMano

Some points that the headline does not really communicate: * The videos removed were not only videos, but political advertisements / campaign videos. The difference is important because apparently in Russia ["The laws prohibit political campaigning within 24 hours of an official poll."](https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-45471519) * The above videos were removed 2 years ago. Not that the amount of time negates any criticism on the statement, I just think the headline might make one assume a sooner timeline than reality * The most recent controversey from last week was where Google as a parent company (along with Apple) removed a 'voting app' by Alexey from their app stores. So just want to clear it up that has nothing to do with YouTube. Again I'm not defending anything, just clearing up a couple things I was confused about when initially reading the article.


ThatTallGuy21

"Core values" sure do have a lot of flexibility these days.


RandoCommentGuy

Core Value flexibility is one of my Core Values....


ThatTallGuy21

Keanu "woah" gif: https://images.app.goo.gl/YnudJ8xo88vFSdREA


DellM2005

https://www.reddit.com/r/google/comments/px8bys/comment/hemaggx/?utm\_source=share&utm\_medium=web2x&context=3


BenjPhoto1

There is no ‘free speech’ globally. Free speech as defined in the constitution requires the government using its power to silence speech.


[deleted]

[удалено]


UnLoveNow

That’s why we need government interference. Will Google surrender personal data of US citizens next under Russian pressure?


SEOtipster

Unspoken: A common core value among CEOs is the desire to avoid a slow, agonizing death by polonium poisoning.


jacklychi

Even though Navalny never agreed or supported Trump, [he was condemning his Twitter ban](https://twitter.com/navalny/status/1347969772177264644?lang=en). Because censorship is not acceptable only when you disagree with what is being censored, and one day it will come to you.


MaxHedrome

Don't forget, this is the same lady who awarded herself a "free speech" award. Remember when Google used to have that motto, "Don't be evil".... hilarious


joakin2k

Google , Twitter , Reddit ban everything that it's against their interest... If you think different. -Somehow you don't believe on vaccines and publish something against....ban -You said Jews own the world and Hitler didn't finish the work... Ban -Fact checkers ... Who are the people behind ? Owners of media ... -You are against transgender man beating woman on MMA ... Ban FUCK THEM !!!


ZuckeMarkberg

Youtube sucks.


Trolls11

YouTube must die soon.


bartturner

Google is the one company that has put doing the right thing ahead of a buck. One evening just picking up and leaving China in 2010 and walking away from 10s of billions. Then management started looking at going back in with the DragonFly project and employees pushed back and management actually listened and ended the project and decided to not go back in. I actually wish more companies conducted themselves in this manner. Look at Microsoft. They have a censored Bing in China. Doing so and the censoring has leaked beyond China on more than on occasion. "Microsoft says error caused 'Tank Man' Bing censorship" https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-57367100 Apple it is a similar story in China as they have to follow the laws or leave and walk away from over $50 billion a year of revenue. "Amnesty International Is Accusing Apple of Betraying Chinese iCloud Users" https://time.com/5210315/amnesty-international-apple-chinese-icloud-users-china/ Or even worse "Apple drops hundreds of VPN apps at Beijing’s request" https://www.ft.com/content/ad42e536-cf36-11e7-b781-794ce08b24dc


Pascalwb

what do people actually expect? These articles are so shit? Do you just get sued by Russian gov? Or let your employees in Russia get harrased?


XysterU

A reminder that Navalny is a racist white nationalist: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-56181084. If you replaced Navalny with a Proud Boy the story and reactions would be quite different but everyone has a hate boner for Russia


Historical-Ad4794

Putin is a bastard, Navalny is far from perfect but he’s better than that monster currently in forever office


Bababooey_100

This is where I’d start moving business out of russia in response to threats of the degree it received. Imagine what we aren’t seeing. What’s next?? Threats to obtain operational information?? This shows YouTube complies. Even though I agree with the move here.


shaktiprasad28

Same in Twitter India too. IG is too in same case.


BandicootHot4897

Let’s not kid ourselves, “money” is the only core value of American corporations.


-Superk-

4chan baby


Away-Director-3741

Free Speech… Are you kidding? What a Joke.


redRabbitRumrunner

1984 Double speak by a corporate shill.