It didn’t take long for YouTube cofounder Chad Hurley to trot out the Chamberlainesque excuse pioneered by Yahoo’s Jerry Yang, “At the end of the day we want to always maintain a platform that respects local laws and customs.”
As I said elsewhere: No, you don’t have to “respect local laws and customs” when it is a) antithetical to human rights and b) a cheap excuse to pimp your users. Looks like Chad & Co. have found an agreeable home at Google. “Do no(t as much) evil (as Yahoo).”
Between shareholders-rights fetishism and puppy-eyed PC credulity, YouTube may prove the platform of choice for those whose “local laws and rights” include having cops rape people for speaking their minds (Egypt) and mutilating people’s genitals for being the wrong gender (Ethiopia). I know a 16 year old kid who has gone to the Iranian equivalent of Pelican Bay because of “local customs.” (He satirized politicians on his blog.) Can you imagine how he’s being treated in there?
Business-oriented conservatives (“The CEO’s only responsibility is to his shareholders…”) and Pollyanna progressives (“Morality is a cultural construct…”) have come together to provide a stable ideological platform for helping some of the worst people in the world get away with (sometimes literally) murder. Finally, a place where left and right can come together.
If you help tyrants, you’re a bitch. If you do it for money, you’re a whore. For the founders of YouTube, this is the first time in a lifetime of bending over for tyrants and finding the money on the dresser. I hope Chad & Co. enjoy the position. Now that they have assumed it once, they’ll find it easier and easier to do.