Will Oremus @WillOremus oh-REE-mus. Senior writer for OneZero at @medium: onezero.medium.com/ Previously: @slate. I write about how tech shapes us. DM for Signal. Jun. 05, 2019 1 min read

I'm not saying YouTube should have stuck to its initial bad call in the face of the backlash. They were right to reverse it. But the reversal—and many others like it, from YT, FB, and others—reminds us that these platforms' claims to be impartial referees were bogus all along.

When a platform says: "We may not like this sort of speech, but it doesn't violate our policies."

What it's really saying is: "We've weighed the costs and benefits to our reputation, and decided we can get away with leaving this one up (unless people get really, *really* mad)."

On closer review, they didn’t “reverse” the decision per se, but threaded a needle through a series of policy loopholes of their own making to try and defuse the controversy after initially suggesting they wouldn’t do anything about it.

You can follow @WillOremus.


Tip: mention @threader_app on a Twitter thread with the keyword “compile” to get a link to it.

Enjoy Threader? Sign up.

Threader is an independent project created by only two developers. The site gets 500,000+ visits a month and our iOS Twitter client was featured as an App of the Day by Apple. Running this space is expensive and time consuming. If you find Threader useful, please consider supporting us to make it a sustainable project.