Last week I asked Google and YouTube press support (and another Google employee) whether their Scientology channel was paid. The channel was listed in the “Sponsors” section of the site, for one thing, and Scientology has been seen spending many advertising dollars with Google in AdSense campaigns. One reason why I asked was that the page included a link to Scientology.org without “nofollow” – which would make it a paid link, which would be against Google’s own webmaster guidelines…
It seems that YouTube has one set of rules for The Church of Scientology and another set for Scientology’s critics…
This screenshot was taken yesterday. A search on video.google.com for “scientology” came up with nothing. Hit the search button, the same thing. Hit the search button, the same thing again. The search finally found the videos I was looking for the 4th time I hit the search button.
UPDATE (03/24/08): watch how all videos critical of Scientology are frozen (with one mysterious exception of the second segment of “The S Files”, which YouTube held hostage for some 29 hours after the upload before releasing it online), while all non-Scientology related videos play just fine.
UPDATE (03/16/08): Scientology has relaunched its websites and uploaded its own self-produced videos of propaganda and deception. Interesting coincidence?
screenshot 1:(click on the pictures to see them in original size):This is just a one time thing that happened last month. Technical glitch on YouTube? I had no problems searching other key words though.
But this is what’s happening now, which I just found out today: go to video.google.com. Type the word “Scientology” and hit the search button with the option “videos hosted by Google” checked. It gives me a search result of 757 videos on 10 pages:
Proceed to page 2; it’s business as usual:
Things got interesting when you hit page 3 to go to the next page.
What happens to the rest of the 750 videos? Where are the rest of the 7 pages? At the bottom of page 3, it says “In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries that seemed similar to the displayed results. If you like, you can repeat the search with all results included”. I have been going through these Scientology documentaries on Google for weeks, and last time I checked (last weekend) you could still click through any pages freely without the Google’s gratuitous filtering. Could it be that Google, fearing accusations of censoring anti-Scientology content, is taking more subtle and subversive tactics? A blatant removal of these videos should no doubt cause a public outcry. So what does Google do? Make them just a little bit less accessible.
The videos omitted by Google that are supposedly “similar to the displayed results” include the following: BBC documentaries (Scientology and Me, The Road to total Freedom);The Big Story documentaries (The S Files, Inside the Cult), and many others. These videos, if you have seen them, are perhaps only “similar to the displayed results” in that they are deal dealing with the subject of Scientology. However, these omitted videos also happen to be some of the most revealing and damning pieces exposing the malpractice and scams of Scientology. Sure, you can “repeat the search with all results included” to see more videos, but why is this extra hurdle concerning information on Scientology introduced by Google now?
The same thing has been happening on YouTube. I set up an account on January 20th in order to host some very informative and important documentaries on Scientology that I feel people should really watch to understand the true nature of Scientology. Things were going well in the beginning. Then accusations of YouTube freezing view counts of anti-Scientology videos began to circulate. That doesn’t concern me too much because I thought, well, as long people were watching the videos, who cares what the statistics say. I was content that I could do my own share of spreading the information. I did not want to associate Cryptic Clarity with that account for fear of harassment from Scientology. However, Scientology must have put one and one together (especially if it did enlist the help of Google) and figured that out already.
Anyways the ride starts to get bumpy. My uploaded videos would take longer and longer to go live on YouTube. If you’ve uploaded videos on YouTube you know the drills: after the uploads are finished (I usually use the multiple-upload feature because I have to chop up documentaries that are longer than 10 minutes), YouTube would list all uploaded videos showing their current status (live or still being processed). About 2 weeks ago, things changed for me. Once the uploads are finished, my videos would completely disappear from my view. I could not see them on the list of my videos. Then the videos would appear after 2 to 7 hours, but still not live. It’d be another 20 to 30 minutes to process them. What’s more, after hours of waiting, even when a video finally goes live, YouTube would still tell me my video is not available or that it’s being processed:
I had to upload a particular video 3 times before YouTube got it right: the first time the video disappeared into thin air, the second time it was completely out of sync. The 3rd upload was finally published without any problems on YouTube.
I’ve tried a couple of times to comment on my various upload problems and this is what would happen:
The last documentary I uploaded about a week ago is called The S Files, from The Big Story, a British documentary on Scientology’s financial frauds and scams. The documentary is about 24 minutes long, and I broke it up into 3 segments before uploading them. Again all of them disappeared mysteriously after the upload. Part 1 and part 3 resurfaced after some 5-7 hours. Part 2 was no where to be seen. It was late so I went to bed, thinking it’d be there the next morning. It wasn’t. It was not available to the public; it was not on my list of uploaded videos. It’s as if that video never existed. By now 24 hours had gone by and I decided to upload Part 2 again. Another 4 hours, and my second attempt was still held ransom by YouTube. I decided to comment on the incident, when I realized I couldn’t post anything, be it comment to my videos, or comment that appears on my page. Luckily I was able to write in my channel description as well as video descriptions, which I did and asked viewers to help download the documentary from XenuTV and upload it. I then contacted 4 of my subscribers who have been publishing some great self-produced videos or TV documentaries to ask them to try their luck and upload the documentary. Interestingly, about 2 hours (or less) after that, the missing part 2 suddenly came to light.
I don’t know anything about the inner workings of YouTube, the ranking systems or the correlation between view counts of a video and its popularization. However, my guts tell me what is happening now on Google and YouTube is more than unintended technical glitches.
Is Scientology doing this? Is Google doing this? I don’t know the answer, but I hope everyone will start asking questions. Many of you are probably saying, why would Google do things like this? Google has enough money, and Google is our friend, etc. Just please remember this: if Google can cooperate with the Chinese government and censor the Internet in order to do business in China, do you honestly think Google would say, “Gee, David, we are making way too much money to want to make even some more!”
I do not know for a fact that there are any “secret deals” between the two corporations (if you still don’t know Scientology is a for profit corporation you really need to watch some above mentioned documentaries), but I do not subscribe to the moral higher ground stance taken from Google apologists that Google will always choose to do the “right” thing (unless, of course, it is “right” for its stockholders). It is certainly possible that these irregularities are Scientologists working within Google/YouTube clandestinely doing a damage control as innocuously as they can, without decisions from the top, to contain the information about Scientology that’s spreading like wildfire. If that is the case, we hope Google would look into the matter and set the story straight. If you are experience similar problems, please share with the rest of the world.
Knowledge is power. Don’t let any cult, religion or corporation take that away from us.