YouTube has refuted claims by a group of LGBTQ YouTube creators over an alleged bias lawsuit on Tuesday at a California court. Several YouTubers filed a lawsuit in August 2019 claiming that YouTube’s algorithm suppresses recommendations and makes it difficult to earn ad revenue.
The lawsuit claims that YouTube uses “unlawful content regulation, distribution, and monetization practices that stigmatize, restrict, block, demonetize, and financially harm the LGBT Plaintiffs and the greater LGBT Community.” The lawsuit alleges LBGTQ personalities LBGTQ personalities are being treated unfairly and in an unconstitutional manner because of both the content in their videos and the fact that they identify as queer creators.
Google, YouTube’s parent company disputes those claims, saying the platform’s distribution algorithms are protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. “We have a statue that is not content-based,” Brian Willen, lead counsel for Google in the case, argued during the hearing, on Tuesday. Adding that “under Section 230, you can’t be treated as a publisher for any speech.”
Divino Group’s Peter Obstler, who is acting as the lead attorney representing several YouTubers in the case, claims that YouTube isn’t protected by Section 230 because the statute is unconstitutional. And that Google is embedding data into people’s YouTube posts that allows the filtering machine to basically filter the content not based on anything they said
The Department of Justice had earlier intervened to defend the statute. The department argued that Section 230 doesn’t limit the content that YouTubers can upload to YouTube, and YouTube also isn’t preventing creators from uploading.
Google’s Willen argued in Tuesday’s hearing that “the executive order has nothing to do with this issue,” adding that it has “no bearing on these issues.” Indraneel Sur, a trial attorney for the Justice Department, added that “at most, the executive order indicates important policy issues within the general realm of section 230” but agreed that didn’t impose any significant status on the current case.