YouTube Racial Discrimination and Conflicts of Interest Class Action

The massive, 238-page complaint for this class action brings suit against YouTube, LLC and its parent companies Google, LLC and Alphabet, Inc. The complaint accuses the companies of “overt, intentional, and systemic racial discrimination” in their control of all content posted on YouTube. YouTube is supposed to provide equal access, the complaint argues, but it does not.

The class for this action is all persons or entities in the US who are or were

  • a member of a class of a protected class or person under 42 USC § 1981, and
  • members, users, or consumers of YouTube who uploaded or viewed video content subject to Google’s/YouTube’s Terms of Service, Mission Statement, Community Guidelines, or any other content-based filtering, monetization, distribution, personal data use policies, advertising or regulation practices, or any other regulations or practices that are related to the YouTube platform, between January 1, 2015 and June 16, 2020.

One of the points that the complaint brings up is that, since the companies create, promote, and sponsor content themselves, they are also competitors of others who use the site in the same way, competing for access, viewership, marketing, and revenue.

However, the companies have “absolute control over any and all posting, viewing, engagement, advertising, personal data, and revenue monetization rights of the 2.3 billion consumers who access and use YouTube[,]” the complaint says. This, it claims, is a conflict of interest.

The companies purport to provide equal access to YouTube and all of its related services, “subject only to viewpoint[-]neutral content rules and criteria that apply equally to all.” In reality, the complaint alleges, they impose “access restrictions and denials” on some that “are not the result of an identity[-] and viewpoint[-]blind review and application of the rules to actual video material.”

The complaint alleges that the companies use “their power to restrict and block” users “based on racial identity or viewpoint discrimination for profit” yet they don’t “subject[] their own videos to the same Community Guidelines and TOS that they apply to all other YouTube users.” The companies therefore “are not subject to filtering or blocking restrictions, even where [their] videos contain material that violates their own rules.”

“Among the many abuses” that the companies have perpetrated against users like the plaintiffs, the complaint says, are “practices of allowing racist hate speech to go unregulated on Plaintiffs’ channels, resulting in lost subscribers and viewership, and the surreptitious ‘bugging’ of Plaintiff’s’ videos by the insertion, attachment, appending, or embedding of metadata and other signals that allow [the companies’] filtering tools to target Plaintiffs …, based on race, identity, and/or the viewpoint of the creator, her channel subscribers, and viewers.”

The complaint calls the companies’ actions “intentional and systemic racial discrimination” that violates the contract between the companies and the users. It brings suit for breach of contract and under discrimination-related laws, among other things.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Civil Rights

Most Recent Case Event

YouTube Racial Discrimination and Conflicts of Interest Complaint

June 16, 2020

The massive, 238-page complaint for this class action, bring suit against YouTube, LLC and its parent companies Google, LLC and Alphabet, Inc. The complaint accuses the companies of “overt, intentional, and systemic racial discrimination” in their control of all content posted on YouTube. YouTube is supposed to provide equal access, the complaint argues, but it does not.

YouTube Racial Discrimination and Conflicts of Interest Complaint

Case Event History

YouTube Racial Discrimination and Conflicts of Interest Complaint

June 16, 2020

The massive, 238-page complaint for this class action, bring suit against YouTube, LLC and its parent companies Google, LLC and Alphabet, Inc. The complaint accuses the companies of “overt, intentional, and systemic racial discrimination” in their control of all content posted on YouTube. YouTube is supposed to provide equal access, the complaint argues, but it does not.

YouTube Racial Discrimination and Conflicts of Interest Complaint
Tags: Breach of Contract, Civil Rights, Racial Discrimination