Google and its subsidiary, YouTube, have taken down more than 300 video ads from President Trump’s reelection campaign video ads for violating company policy, according to a new report by “60 Minutes.”
It’s unclear how exactly the videos violated any policy. The ads ran for a few days before being taken down, with many of the removals taking place during the summer. However, Google and YouTube’s actions have raised more questions about big tech’s role in the 2020 election.
Conservative groups like PragerU and Live Action have complained that the platform has unfairly suppressed many of their videos. Meanwhile, Facebook has come under fire for its fact-checking process. Twitter decided to forgo political advertisements altogether before the 2020 election.
CBS reporter Leslie Stahl asked YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki about conservatives’ perception that YouTube is biased against them.
“Well, first of all there are lots of very successful conservative creators on YouTube… Our systems, our algorithms, they don’t have any concept of understanding what’s a Democrat, what’s a Republican,” Wojcicki answered.
“They don’t have any concept of political bias built into them in any way. And we do hear this criticism from all sides. We also have people who come from more liberal backgrounds who complain about discrimination. And so I think that no matter who you are, we are trying to enforce our policies in a consistent way for everybody.”
The Trump campaign and Google didn’t immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
CBS’ report came amid renewed scrutiny on tech companies and how they filtered information on their platforms. Congress has pressed companies like Facebook and Twitter on how their platforms would prevent election interference. And at the end of November, actor Sacha Baron Cohen called big tech the “greatest propaganda machine ever.”
Craig Strazzeri, the chief marketing officer for Prager University, previously balked at Google’s claim that YouTube is politically neutral — arguing that the company’s restrictions on PragerU had reached the “point of absurdity.”
“There is so much evidence every day that they continue to restrict us, simply because we’re conservatives,” Strazzeri told “Fox & Friends” in August.
In June, a document surfaced showing an employee of Google, YouTube’s parent company, accusing conservative author Ben Shapiro and others of being Nazis. That claim subjected the platform to mass backlash.
YouTube has removed more than 17,000 channels and 100,000 videos, along with at least 500 million comments, since the company announced a broad crackdown on hate speech in June.
In September, the video platform said it had removed five times as many videos and channels as it had in the previous quarter. According to the company’s transparency report, it removed around 8.8 million videos in the third quarter of 2019.
Fox News’ Christopher Carbone contributed to this report.