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Pro-gov’t Site ‘PestiSrácok’ to Protest against ‘Cyber-Stalinism’ after YouTube Erasure

Ábrahám Vass 2020.02.18.

Following Google’s deletion of two domestic, politically-themed YouTube channels for different reasons, one of them, pro-Fidesz political tabloid ‘Pesti Srácok,’ is set to organize a protest on Thursday against what they call “cyber-Stalinism.”

At first, the site supposed political reasons were behind the deletion, but it was later revealed that child pornography content led to the closure.

According to Pesti Srácok’s editor-in-chief Gergely Huth, the problematic video had been recorded (by someone) in one of the slums of Hungary, and was sent to them by an unknown reader. The site aimed to use that as the illustration of a documentary aimed to expose the case. While insisting to have covered up the most problematic parts for the YouTube upload, Huth argues that the original footage had been forwarded to the police. He also revealed that the video was not shared publicly on YouTube.

Fact

One week ago, the channel of DK leader Ferenc Gyurcsány was also removed by the video-sharing platform. The reason: infringement of author's rights. In reference to the politician's social media manager, liberal 444.hu reported that the former PM's channel had been deleted due to the report of two users called 'Locust-faced Gypsy' and 'Fag Patrick.' Furthermore, the former claimed to own the property rights of Monty Python's 'Life of Brian' movie and Hungarian blockbuster comedy 'Üvegtigris,' the scenes of which Gyurcsány used in his videos. Since YouTube takes it very seriously when the owner himself reports breach of property rights, it decided to delete the account. A day later, YouTube restored Gyurcsány's channel.

Google, however, fully removed the seven-year-old channel from YouTube without any kind of warning (except for the most serious cases, YouTube warns users three times before removal). The video-sharing platform argues that their conditions are clear and straightforward. “YouTube has a zero tolerance for content that sexualises or exploits children. We have clear policies against such content and we take swift action to remove and report such content to the authorities, terminating the associated channel immediately.”

The platform also revealed that in order “to live up to their responsibility” in the third quarter of 2019 alone they removed more than 800,000 videos for violations of their child safety policies and have terminated more than 60,000 channels.

As of now, YouTube banned Pesti Srácok’s new channel as well. Meanwhile, the pro-government tabloid, famed for controversial, often offensive and agitating writings and tone, announced a demonstration in front of Google’s Budapest office by Thursday. Huth baptized the demo as “Revolt against cyber-Stalinism,” after a comment on pro-Fidesz radio station Karc.fm.

In addition, they will sue Google, aiming to prove that it should be considered as a Hungarian service provider since they have an office here. He also claimed that he is worried that tech giants such as YouTube, Google, and Facebook tend to favor left-wing and liberal opinions and stances over rightist and conservative ones, which might affect future elections.

Last summer, freshly appointed Justice Minister Judit Varga announced at Sziget Festival that the government would set up a work group to review issues such as the boundaries of freedom of expression and the censorship exercised by big tech companies such as Facebook and Google, as well as taxation and data protection.

image: Pesti Srácok via Youtube