YouTube has taken down another interview featuring Democratic Presidential candidate Robert F Kennedy Jr., raising eyebrows and fueling debate over the role of tech giants in controlling information. The interview, a spirited chat with Al Guart, a former New York Post reporter, was removed for allegedly breaching the platform’s “community standards.”
This has further ignited concerns over censorship and its potential ramifications on democratic dialogue.
The episode marked the launch of a podcast in which Kennedy, an environmental attorney and presidential aspirant for the 2024 election, discusses an array of subjects. From his meditation routine to his ambition of overhauling federal health agencies and the Democratic Party, the conversation traversed numerous topics. Other issues covered included handling environmental concerns and the middle class.
Al Guart expressed dismay over the removal in a statement, remarking, “YouTube just banned my interview with RFK Jr. for allegedly violating ‘community standards.’ RFK Jr. and I covered many topics of public interest and there was no threat or harm contained in the hour-long discussion.” Guart also highlighted that the podcast was gaining traction and popularity on other platforms.
During the interview, Kennedy made noteworthy remarks concerning censorship, a topic he himself has encountered on platforms such as Instagram and YouTube. He opined that, if elected President, he would engage with tech giants to explore ways to put an end to what he perceives as the unAmerican practice of censorship. He further asserted that if a satisfactory resolution could not be reached, he would consider transforming these companies into common carriers.
Kennedy, who has previously faced the ax on YouTube for violating its policy on vaccine “misinformation,” voiced his concerns over the platform’s removal of the video. He drew a parallel with concerns over foreign intervention in elections through information manipulation, stating, “People made a big deal about Russia supposedly manipulating internet information to influence a Presidential election. Shouldn’t we be worried when giant tech corporations do the same?”
In an earlier instance, YouTube removed a video featuring Kennedy in conversation with podcast host Jordan Peterson, citing a violation of its policy against “vaccine misinformation.” A YouTube spokesperson explained that content alleging vaccines cause chronic side effects, beyond the “rare” side effects acknowledged by health authorities, is not permitted on the platform.
Kennedy’s prompt on Twitter was a question to the public: “What do you think … Should social media platforms censor presidential candidates?”