The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which oversees telecommunications like radio, TV, and the internet in the U.S., doesn’t regulate content on online platforms like YouTube. But that hasn’t stopped people from sending complaints about the video site to the federal agency—and they’re every bit as unhinged as you’d expect.
Gizmodo submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for all complaints that the FCC has received about YouTube. We received 81 pages of grievances featuring everyone from PizzaGate conspiracy theorists to anti-nudity crusaders. YouTube, which is owned by Google, has cracked down on extremist content in recent months, doing everything from removing ISIS propaganda videos to demonetizing conspiracy theory channels. YouTube has even banned neo-Nazi channels like Atomwaffen altogether.
Diamond & Silk, the popular pro-Trump entertainers who recently testified in front of a House Judiciary Committee claiming that they were being censored, get a shout-out in the complaints obtained by Gizmodo. And other pro-Trump complaints insist that the U.S. government needs to step in to “prevent censorship” of conservative voices. Far-right figures like Paul Joseph Watson have spent the past year calling for platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter to be regulated like utilities
The complaints include a handful of lefties concerned about hate speech on the platform as well. But complaints from conservatives about YouTube censorship far outnumbered any other kind of complaint. Below we have a sample of the comments received by the FCC. Typos have not been fixed to preserve these opinions as authentically as possible.
Subject: Censorship of the altRight on Google/YouTube
City: New York, New York
I am what people would call a “Patriot”. I don’t get my news from MSM because it has become exceedingly clear that these outlets are, at once, a monopoly and a propaganda arm of the CIA. The MSM sham has created a market for hundreds of credible alternative web-based news outlets to emerge and emerge they have. Unfortunately, these outlets have come under massive attack over the last two months by Alphabet/Google/YouTube, Twitter, Amazon and Facebook. It appears that these corporations are working in cooperation with David Brock (all too curious that this man is the former lover of James Alefantis of Pizzagate fame) of Media Matters under the new NDAA to bring the flow of information from these outlets from what was an open fire hose to a trickle. The few dozen sites that I subscribe to are screaming about being demonetized, personally threatened, having their user stats defrauded, trolled in the comments section by an army of bruts hired by Google and taken out of the public’s eye despite their popularity through the adjustment of the company’s algorithms. It is your responsibility to stop this BLATANT CENSORSHIP. Despite whether or not you do or do not agree with the content of these sites, this ABRIDGEMENT OF OUR FIRST AMENDMENT FREEDOMS CANNOT STAND. We expect to see: 1) the delinking of the MSM (including Google, Facebook and Twitter) from the CIA’s direct influence; 2) the complete eradication of any and all attempts at censorship of any kind of speech that is within the law on the Internet; and 3) punishment for the activities that I have described above (and more, no doubt) that have already taken place.
One final thought: It is very evident that the altRight has really touched a nerve with their reporting on Pizzagate. Even a first grader could figure out the connection between Brock and Alefantis and their link to the Clinton camp and exactly what it is that they are trying to cover up with this level of censorship. So, either your name will go down in history as being part of the solution or part of the problem. Please deal with this ASAP.
Subject: YouTube Ads are much louder than programming
City: Guilford, Connecticut
While I listen to YouTube programs, ads appear in the middle of some videos, and the volume is much louder than the actual programming. It hurts my ears and it very unpleasant. I did some research and learned that ads should not have a higher volume than the actual programming.
Subject: Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Google, Mainstream Media
City: Haverhill, Massachusetts
I have accounts with all of these sites on the internet. Due to me having conservative views I have witnessed a systematic censorship of my posting on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Google. Not only have I been censored on their platforms, my friends on these platforms have been getting censored. Their has been a massive purge as of recent on their sites with conservatives and their profiles. This is a first amendment issue and we need accountability of these monopolies. Also, I have been witnessing censorship of individuals being questioned by CNN and the recent Parklin highschool shooting. They have been giving scripts to individuals involved with this situation and I have witnessed on video of cnn faking and immigrant drowning and fake a protest in europe with fake islamist who were faking a protest in europe against the Ariana Grande concert bombing. That event is on video as well and can be proven to be fake. They and many other outlest have been involved in manipulation of the publics view on society.
Subject: lewd and lascivious behaviors
City: Phoenix, Arizona
mariah carey- kylie jenner- blak china- beyonce- cher- brittney spears- nikki minage- exhibit lewd and lascivious behavior and it is allowed and unregulated on yahoo.com- youtube.com- facebook.com- etc. yet lewd and lascivious behavior is censored on national and public television- if these lewd and lascivious females are so interested in the pulic seeing their bare titties and bare behinds- why dont they just walk around completely nude or take pornographic nude pictures- because it is not publicly acceptable- the FCC needs to censor these females and other public nude exhibitionist
Subject: YouTube Censorship of Conservative Consumers
City: Wichita, Kansas
The recent practices of Youtube censoring conservative views is extremely out of hand. Diamond and Silk have been unfairly demonetized along with many many others. Jerome Corsi has been recently banned for expressing fair public opinion and discussion of relevant facts. One of the most objectionable bans was to Roger Stone who may have used somewhat vulgar language, but was by no means threatening anyone, despite their claims. Twitter has been subjecting consumers to the same practices.
Example: David Hogg has been allowed to slander and libel people by calling them Child murderer’s, provoking undeserved boycotts, spreading hatred of opposing views and the likes. He has done so without consequence solely because he has liberal views.
Google / Youtube has been sponsored by public funds for many years. They operate on the public domain offered by the internet.
Subject: Keep political ad away from a Disney cartoon
City: New Carrollton, Maryland
I was just trying to watch The Little Mermaid. An ad came on. It was whining about other countries. There are too many ads on the internet. Plus, this is a kid’s cartoon. This ad needs to be blocked.
Subject: youtube’s new rules about monetization.
City: Beaverton, Oregon
hello recently it has come to light that Youtube has added new rules for monetization https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/6162278?hl=en these rules go against freedom of speech.
Sexually suggestive content, including partial nudity and sexual humor Game of Thrones, the Simpsons, educational shows from history channel, discover channel, and national geographic all do this.
Violence, including display of serious injury and events related to violent extremism. 24, person of interest, saving privet ryan, and documenters about war, they all do this.
Inappropriate language, including harassment, profanity and vulgar language. the movie the cable guy, South park, and Sausage party a movie that has grossed $80 million in america. all do this.
Promotion of drugs and regulated substances, including selling, use and abuse of such items. Family guy, Archer, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. they all do this
Controversial or sensitive subjects and events, including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies, even if graphic imagery is not shown. Schindler list, The men who built america, and the news. they all do this
I gave you the new rules and three examples of other tv shows and movies that brake these rules because if people on Youtube can’t make money on this then why should others.
City: Titusville, Florida
Our right to freedom of speech and freedom of information are being violated on many major platforms on the Internet: Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter are among the primary violators of these human rights. I say enough is enough to the effort to silence voices of Americans and people around the world just because what they have to say does not agree with mainstream narratives and agendas. I think it’s time for the Trump administration to step up and start protecting those rights — to prevent censorship and ensure there are consequences (justice) for entities that censor. There is a lot at stake, and the world is watching. Thank you.
Subject: YouTube Banning Conservative Channels
City: Nortonville, Kansas
Recently, YouTube has been blocking/banning conservative channels I am subscribed to, such as Dustin Nemos, Anti-School and Infowars. I depend on these and many other conservative/libertarian- leaning channels for Alternative news and truth-seeking information. I demand that YouTube be regulated just as any communications utility company and be forced to allow all viewpoints on their platform, and/or be fined heavily for their Nazi-like censorship behavior.
Subject: YouTube violating the first and second Amendment of the Constitution and freedoms speech
City: Phoenix, Arizona
Hello, I’d like to file a complaint against YouTube owned by google.com and their violation of the first and second amendment of the US Constitution as a public utility.
This company has set themselves up as a public utility with the form that they created.
Now they try to violate the first and second amendment of the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
on YouTube they have an area where you can opt-in or opt-out of a fensive material.
the word defensive, can pertain to many things such as anything objectionable to someone’s criteria, meaning the way they think how something that they perceive as defined.
When you opt in, using YouTube you subject yourself to material that may be offensive to your way of thinking or your Norm.
and in doing so you may submit yourself two material that you find offencive.
Google Now have singled out the first and second Amendment of the Constitution as being objective to their way of thinking, through moderation. there moderation May differ from other people’s opinion so their opinion can be at objective to those who feel that it’s not.
In YouTube on their platform you can type teen girls in tight thongs and see underage adolescence performing acts there are no less than child pronography, but YouTube does nothing to restrict child pronography on their website!
I find Shell pornography offencive since I have 3 children 2 Girls and 1 boy,, on YouTube there are numerous if not thousands of child pronography type videos that show young girls under the age of 18 in their panties and doing lewd acts.
Why does not why does the FCC not crack down on this type of material being broadcast on the internet?
Instead Google is allowed the FCC to restrict First Amendment rights and 2nd Amendment rights but not child pronography or communism fascism or socialism !
If YouTube is a open form then it is defined as a public utility and should be regulated as one and should be subject to fines for child pronography !
Subject: Indecent ads on YouTube
City: Schaumburg, Illinois
Earlier, while I was watching a youtube video, a commercial from “Islamic Relief USA” was played back.
I’ve no concerns with advertising in general. However the taste of this particular advert was for lack of better words - indecent and appalling. The ad shows the kids family being killed, one at a time, using bullet holes in the heads of his/her family members. This is quite horrific.
I’ve requested youtube to take the advert down, however would appreciate if FCC can take actions necessary to ensure that the ad is not used else-where.
Further, I went to the advertisers website and found offensive videos there too. Please check video on this page - http://www.irusa.org/emergencies/syrian-humanitarian-relief/. (Direct link to video on youtube - http://youtu.be/UNw-ikgLhS8) At 1:24, the song in the background says: “You caused it ....”.
Would appreciate if FCC can take prompt action in this regard.
Thank you, [redacted]
PS: This complaint doesn’t have anything to do with Privacy or Cable, but these fields are mandatory on the form.
Subject: Defamatory accusations, account termination, work communication suspension
City: New Bern, North Carolina
dWhile YouTube is permitted by TOS to terminate any account for any reason, it is libelous as well as cyber bullying to, on multiple occasions, accuse users (as they did to me) for violating their Guidelines when I did not. Moreover, it is defamatory to state that I have harassed or engaged in cyber bullying when I also in fact have not. I was told my account was terminated for these reasons in three separate emails, my Google email was in turn suspended. Gmail which is related to my local business which has an SOSID in NC and multiple locations. YouTube directly impacts the communication within commerce when they make such false accusations leading to termination and email suspension. This is defamatory and libelous. By their own contract they can terminate for no reason whatsoever, and this I am not disputing but again, to lie and defame and accuse of actions which I did not do is beyond their own TOS and U.S. Law.
Subject: YouTube is being used for pedophilia related search queries
City: Santa Monica, California
If I search “how to have” in YouTube it auto completes with “how to have s*x with your kids”
I did some investigating to see what else YouTube would autocomplete.
Jacob Satorius is definitely under the age of consent but searching for “f*ckboy” shows that people are looking up his videos with pedophilic intentions and YouTube is allowing these autosuggest results to appear.
“Chicken fucker” is a euphemism for pedophilia according to www.urbandictionary.com. It also shows up in autocomplete results.
To resolve my issue YouTube needs to have a dedicated task force or people monitoring for pedophilic content on their platform and proactively removing it. YouTube needs to impose mandatory training on how to spot grooming and abuse of children to ALL of their employees all the way to the very top of management. There needs to be fines imposed on YouTube for the damage that they have already done to our children and our communities due to several channels such as “Toy Freaks” that until recently had millions of subscribers and existed on YouTube for YEARS without being demonetized or reviewed. YouTube made MILLIONS of dollars by hosting this “Toy Freaks” channel which was clearly meant to psychologically screw with a child’s brain and groom them for pedophiles.
There needs to be a fact finding investigation to find out how much money YouTube has made by distributing and promoting this content (by making it appear on their “suggested videos” sidebar next to related videos. YouTube should be ordered to pay back all of the money made through these illegal means and the money should be donated to a mixture of child welfare organizations. YouTube should make a public apology for promoting pedophilia for years and years.
Subject: Internet Freedom
City: Edinburg, Texas
Google, FB, Twitter, YouTube are censoring content. I am one of 2million subscribers that watch @Infowars since 2011. Youtube kicked @Infowars off. How can I get the news I want to hear? FB shadowbans and down grades the content I want to see. Gee I cant even see the Conservative sites, Christian sites, GunOwner sites, I have watched for a decade or more. We need FreeSpeech, and Internet Freedom.
Subject: Free Speech Shutdown
City: Barberton, Ohio
Youtube has recently uploaded and begun to enforce a new set of rules which have horrifically strangled all content creator’s abilities to create, well, content. Youtube’s new regulations for “advertiser friendly content” have said that you cannot create anything that has something to do with sexual humor, violence (including video games), vulgar language, promotion of drugs even in jokes, and anything that could be considered “controversial.” Tons of channels rely on things like this, from channels referred to as “Let’s Plays” or channels dedicated to playing video games, to news channels, to just about anything that is considered “controversial” which means even trying to say anything against the new terms and services could have their monetization shut down. This is incredibly wrong and infringes upon many, many rights of people on the sight including Freedom of Speech. I understand that Youtube and Google, who owns Youtube, are private corporations and can limit what is allowed on their site. However when it starts to encroach upon rights and amendments while taking away a person’s ability to create money to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves this is abhorrent. This is in a similar vein to when people like Comcast were attempting to make it so sites had to pay money to get decent speed.
Something needs to be done about this and while most of the major Youtubers seem to have not acknowledged this (yet) it is only a matter of time before something explodes and the internet is in a riot. Please, look into this matter and defend the rights of all content creators, big or small, who are currently or hoping to make a living doing what they love.
These are the new regulations on “advertiser friendly content” so you may read them for yourself: https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/6162278?hl=en
Subject: Racist Advertising on Youtube
City: Chicago, Illinois
I was watching videos on Youtube when an ad appeared that began spouting ignorance about how all muslims are radical and want to kill “infidels”. It’s appalling that ignorance like this is allowed to be thrust upon unsuspecting viewers. I attempted to report this to Youtube via the Youtube app, but every time I did so it said “Error reporting video”. The advertiser is called PagerU and on first glance it appears they also have videos purporting that disenfranchised african american communities are that way because they are inherently lazy, anti-jewish videos and lots of other offensive propaganda. At the very least they should not be able to advertise hate so blatantly, particularly on an app with such a young and impressionable viewership.
Subject: CBS NEWS - YOUTUBE CHANNEL
City: Stafford, Texas
Video titled, ‘Trump fires Andrew McCabe bashing him on Twitter’.
A national news agency is misleading YouTube users, sowing the seed of unrest, destroying public tranquility by being “less than candor”, prompting online harrassment by users verbally attacking anyone in disagreement. I’d file a complaint with ‘The Professional Society of Journalism’ but they’ve long since hidden behind a paywall. During the election, when media was spewing vitriol. The very code of ethics standards broken. Please help this nation heal and restore tranquility amongst Americans. Verbal attacks are everywhere on social media. And the news agencies are to blame, sowing lies, misleading the public, with their vitriolic news headlines & reporting. It is enbolding uncivil threatening behavior, attacking others over a skewed, less than truthful, viewpoint from news organizations. I commented. I wanted to edit my comment when I noted my profile pic with words I did not write, authored by my user name. I exited edit mode. Searching for that comment. It was gone. I tried to recreate the situation to see it. I closed-out my session. Opened a different browser, searched the video out to see comment section. Only 1 comment was visible, while comment count showed “8". I was being shadow-banned. The 1 comment was not mine nor my doppelganger. An alarming trend of shadowbanning, shuttering comments, users, channels, have been running amuck in social media circles on Americans Rights by big corporation giants violating the 1st Amendment. Allowing free-reign with the voice of antifa, communists, and mean-spirited people. Threats, harm, name- calling; uncivility, social rioting. All because unfettered propaganda news organizations, the social media organizations censoring out bias not liked, and allowing bad actors to verbally others not in agreement, harassment. Please restore civility. Force the social media giants: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, GOOGLE, comply with the law and our 1st amendment. Please.
Subject: Horrifying ad on baby music youtube video
City: Minnetonka, Minnesota
Played a youtube video of baby lullabiesfor my 5month old baby girl. The ad that played for this was for a horror film which displayed a dead young girl who had her throat slit with blood everywhere! This was horrifying for me being someone who is against horror films all together, but especially for my impressionable and innocent daughter! I never want her exposed to that garbage. If a youtube video is baby or child related, horror ads should never play on those. Never! Please stop this from being something that is okay.
Subject: Black awareness
City: Lawrence, Massachusetts
I have a complaint with YouTube website for not doing enough vetting to my complaint over a youtube bloggers rants that have obcene and offensive to blacks especially women. This offender has targetted specific people with names being mentioned. Nothing is being done about my complaint. And it’s still monetizing.
City: Ashburn, Virginia
I am writing to file a complaint against Youtube. They recently came out with new policies on content regarding firearms. I use Youtube to educate and entertain myself on my favorite hobby, which is firearms. The recent policy changes by Youtube, will make it nearly impossible for the content providers to make videos without violating the new policies. The content providers will have their channels and videos removed if they are in violation of the new policies. The content providers are not breaking any laws so why did YouTube decide to implement these new policies? My opinion is that they are so against firearms and the 2nd Amendment that this is their way of shutting down the channels of those that support and celebrate our 2nd Amendment. YouTube will say they are not banning channels that have firearms content, but in essence they are with the new policies. I watch videos to learn about new firearms and accessories. I watch to learn different techniques to safely use my firearms. All these types of videos will be in direct violation of their new policies. Again, these content providers are not breaking any laws so why are they being singled out? This is very upsetting and smacks of discrimination and censorship. I hope that the FCC will investigate these new policies and let youtube know that this form of discrimination and censorship will not be allowed and accepted.
Thank you, [redacted]
For what it’s worth the chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai, believes that YouTube’s political biases are a problem. But YouTube is still owned and operated by a private company that can host whatever content it wants. So far, anyway.