Today, I did some shopping in Croydon, and en route stopped off at the Central Library to use the Internet, being one of the few people in this once great nation who does not actually own a mobile phone.
One of the things I wanted to check was a video related to the Canadian anti-feminist academic Janice Fiamengo, and entering her name at the YouTube search bar I was surprised to see one video come up on a channel so named. As far as I know, Janice doesn’t have her own channel, and as her field is English I asked myself did she really misspell that word?
More importantly was the message:
“Some results have been removed because Restricted Mode is enabled by your network administrator.”
Signing in to YouTube made no difference, so this really is the local network. I’ve long grown used to censorship bordering on silliness in public libraries. Local authority libraries were quick to embrace the Internet. I remember a slightly humorous incident many years ago when Google was still a novelty. I tried to use image search in one Lewisham library only to find it had been deactivated. When I pointed this out to a librarian he replied this was so because children used the computer, and they might use such searches to find pictures of naked people and the like.
While no reasonable person could object to libraries blocking sites that are dedicated to extreme pornography, many otherwise innocuous websites end up being blocked. In my local library, which is run by the London Borough of Bromley, Bitchute is currently blocked. In 2002-03, I had some amusing correspondence concerning the Internet settings of their computers.
My time at Croydon was limited, but I made a number of YouTube searches re “right wing” outfits with the following results:
ANTHONY BRIAN LOGAN is a black American conservative. His channel has 1,276 videos and 348 thousand subscribers. At Croydon, a YouTube search returned only 5 results.
BLACK CONSERVATIVE PATRIOT has 604 videos and 401 thousand subscribers. He returned zero results!
COLIN FLAHERTY has been banished permanently from YouTube for telling inconvenient truths about race in America, but his videos are regularly uploaded by his supporters. His name returned zero hits!
HA GOODMAN is a vocal Trump supporter who has nearly 150 thousand subscribers and over three thousand videos on his main channel. His name returned one entry.
JUDICIAL WATCH returned one result.
MIKE BUCHANAN returned only one result – for Mike Buchanan Commercial Properties. Mike is an anti-feminist. His channel has hundreds of videos and 1.6+ million views. Curiously, his website j4mb.org.uk was also blocked or appeared to be blocked. This led me to see if similar websites were blocked.
The NATION OF ISLAM website could be accessed but it had not much of a presence on YouTube.
And, most importantly, THE DURAN returned one entry for a family of that name. Nothing at all for this site although it is not blocked.
I decided to check a few left wing outfits, with the following results.
CRIMEBODGE – this is a channel run by a bloke who has a grudge against the UK police, with good reason. With hundreds of good reasons actually. It is arguable if he could be called left wing, but while his YouTube channel has only 59 videos, he has 151 thousand subscribers. A search at Croydon brought up only 2 entries.
ADL – there were no results for that ADL. These “anti-Semites” get everywhere.
ANTIFA was restricted but not as bad.
Entries for feminism appeared somewhat restricted.
FEMINIST FREQUENCY was somewhat restricted. This is run by Anita Sarkeesian, who is physically attractive, unlike Zoë Quinn. There were several results for Zoë Quinn, but none apparently for that Zoë Quinn.
The only conclusion that can be drawn from this is that whatever bias the network operators have, it does not lean unduly in one direction, but while our public libraries are censoring political content, we have no right to criticise, China, Russia, or any other sovereign nation.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.