Conservative internet personality Steven Crowder has accused YouTube of suppressing search results for 2020 Democratic hopeful Tulsi Gabbard during her recent spat with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Following Clinton’s suggestion last Friday that Gabbard (D-Hawaii) was being “groomed” by foreign election-meddlers, the dovish congresswoman shot back with a
labeling Clinton the “queen of warmongers,” but in a lengthy posted on Tuesday, Crowder says YouTube concealed her content amid the dispute.
Great! Thank you @HillaryClinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain. From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a ...— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) October 18, 2019
Using a virtual private network (VPN) to observe search results in different countries, Crowder claims to have found evidence the platform demoted Gabbard’s official campaign videos for searches conducted in the US.
The first VPN test was carried out last Friday and compared search results from the US and Spain, showing Gabbard’s channel and videos were buried far below other content in American queries at the height of her feud with Clinton.
A second test two days later, after the Clinton quarrel had calmed down, had a much different outcome, showing similar results between searches attempted in the two countries.
Crowder, who ran afoul of YouTube earlier this year and had his own channel demonetized, claims the platform deliberately throttled Gabbard’s content to limit her message in an attempt at “election meddling.”
Over the summer, Gabbard filed a lawsuit against YouTube’s parent company, Google, alleging the tech giant intentionally blocked her campaign ads on the heels of a Democratic presidential debate that – as shown by Google’s own
– generated intense interest in her candidacy.Also on rt.com ‘Outrageous’: Bernie rejects Hillary Clinton’s ‘foreign asset’ smear on Tulsi Gabbard
Tulsi was the most Googled candidate though 😍 pic.twitter.com/TUlHGs8swc
— JACQUES (@arcadeyblog) June 27, 2019
A number of conservative commentators weighed in on the allegation, noting the “chilling effect” such suppression could have on anyone challenging “establishment politicians” and the Washington swamp.
“We all knew, now we have proof,” another commenter
We all knew, now we have proof.— Yer Fave Tweet (@YrFavoriteTweet) October 22, 2019
Some in Crowder’s camp took issue with the claim, however, with New York congressional candidate Joey ‘Salads’ Saladino arguing the comedian failed to prove what he alleged.
Another critic similarly challenged Crowder’s accusation, stating his tests did not show any manipulation of search results, but rather a new feature on YouTube which prioritizes news items curated by its partner “fact checkers” over other videos. While YouTube says the feature was rolled out to combat “misinformation,” it nonetheless raises questions about how the platform chooses which stories to serve up to viewers, at the expense of other content.
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