The Congress on Thursday slammed YouTube India for adding a warning tagline to a video of Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s speeches in Telangana, alleging that the social media platform is playing into the hands of the ruling dispensation. The criticism came after YouTube India put a “viewer discretion” caution on the video on Congress’ YouTube channel of Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi’s speeches made in Telangana on Wednesday, stating that “the following content may contain suicide or self-harm topics”.
A user can proceed to the video of the speeches after clicking on an icon saying — “I understand and wish to proceed”. In a post on X, Congress general secretary, communications, Jairam Ramesh said, “Only a few days ago, the Washington Post revealed how social media platforms including @YouTube were playing into the hands of the ruling dispensation in India. The article also mentioned that the messages of the Opposition were being suppressed.”
“Today, @YouTubeIndia has vindicated what the Washington Post wrote and what were already our genuine apprehensions. warning tagline on @RahulGandhi’s and @priyankagandhi’s speeches, made in Telangana yesterday, that the content ‘may contain suicide or self-harm topics’, YouTube has proved beyond any doubt that it is playing into the hands of India’s ruling dispensation which has been desperately trying to block the messaging from the Opposition,” Ramesh said.
Will Google, which owns YouTube, explain what is “suicidal or self-harming” in their speeches, Ramesh asked. Will now raising issues that matter to the people be censored, he further asked.
“We have written to them in the past and we will keep raising our voice in the future for a level-playing field and an unbiased approach from global social media companies — a critical necessity today for free and fair elections in India and all over the world,” Ramesh said. According to YouTube’s policy on such cautioning, it does not allow content that promotes suicide, self-harm, or eating disorders, that is intended to shock or disgust, or that poses a considerable risk to viewers.
In her speech in Telangana, Priyanka Gandhi referred to a woman job aspirant, who allegedly died by suicide in Hyderabad last week, and said “One girl committed suicide and questions were raised that she did not fill up the application herself”. “Without resolving the problems of youth, fingers are raised on them and employment is not given to you (youth),” she had said.
Ramesh’s remarks come days after the opposition INDIA bloc had written to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai over their social media platforms’ alleged role in “aiding communal hatred” in the country and demanded that the platforms maintain neutrality in the upcoming elections. The letters had come after the Washington Post newspaper flagged alleged bias of Facebook, WhatsApp, and YouTube towards the ruling BJP and the Narendra Modi dispensation.
With inputs from News18