Agree or disagree with Ajit Pai’s policies, you have to agree with this: his online presence is weird and surprising. Today’s FCC blog post by Pai, “What I Hope to Learn from the Tech Giants,” is no exception.
Pai’s Arguments in Defence of PragerU
The strangest takeaway is that Pai has apparently been following the plight of “PragerU,” an obscure right wing YouTube channel by a “non-profit University.” PragerU is a non-profit dedicated to explaining right wing views like “If There Is No God Murder Isn’t Wrong” and “How to Fix the World, NYPD-Style.”
Pai plans to grill “edge providers” like Google on Capitol Hill tomorrow (September 5) about why they often remove ad revenue from videos that get flagged by users as offensive.
In his own words:
…many content creators on Google’s YouTube platform, like PragerU, said their videos were “demonetized” — that is, denied advertising revenue critical to their ability to speak online — without explanation.
Is advertising revenue really “critical” to PragerU’s ability to speak online? You be the judge.
Pai’s Defense of AT&T Doesn’t Mention FCC Denial of Service Scandal
Having defended PragerU’s right to make money off their videos on a private platform, Pai goes on to complain about how he didn’t get enough support for his removal of Net Neutrality:
…many Twitter users said their online messages were restricted without explanation, such as … one company’s statement on net neutrality (ironically, on a day advocating about the importance of net neutrality).
Pai doesn’t admit it in writing, but the link he includes suggests the company in question is AT&T — who apparently faced suspicious “technical issues” on their Twitter account while trying to Tweet support for Pai’s “Internet Freedom” bill.
Now, this is a fair point — the issues with AT&T’s Twitter page were indeed suspicious, and Twitter as a company held a known position in favor of Net Neutrality. However, this argument loses it’s edge when you remember that the FCC admitted to falsifying the supposed Denial of Service attack that shut down the ability for Net Neutrality supporters to submit complaints.
Twitter and Other Edge Providers Face the Music in Senate Hearings
The FCC blog is one of the most partisan places on the Internet — one of these days we really need to do a “greatest hits” recap of the most absurd statements issued by FCC commissioners using the FCC blog.
Regardless of the partisan content, social media giants like Jack Dorsey of Twitter are slated to have Zuckerburg-style senate hearings in the coming days. If they’re anything like the Facebook hearing, we can expect another demonstration of Capital Hill’s inability to understand tech issues — let alone regulate them effectively.
Twitter’s Transparency and Accountability hearing will take place on September 5.