Google has won the dismissal of a lawsuit in California which accused YouTube of censoring conservative content.
U.S. District Judge, Lucy Koh, said a non-profit run by conservative radio talk show host, Dennis Prager, failed to show that YouTube infringed its free speech rights by placing age restrictions on its content.
The plaintiff, Prager University, said YouTube’s “animus’’ toward its “political identity and viewpoint’’ led it to curb access to videos on topics.
It identified the topics to include; abortion, gun rights, Islam and terrorism, despite YouTube’s stated promise of neutrality.
But the judge said Google and YouTube, both units of Mountain View, aCalifornia-based Alphabet Inc, did not qualify as “state actors’’ subject to the First Amendment by creating a “public forum’’ for speech.
Koh said: “Defendants are private entities who created their own video-sharing social media website and make decisions about whether and how to regulate content that has been uploaded on that website.
“Plaintiff has not shown that defendants have engaged in one of the very few public functions that were traditionally exclusively reserved to the state.’’
The San Jose, California-based judge also dismissed a claim that YouTube engaged in false advertising by implying that Prager’s videos.
The judge said the claim was “inappropriate’’ and dismissed various law claims.
In court papers, Google acknowledged that deciding which videos to restrict “may involve difficult subjective judgment calls’’.
But it maintained that it should not be held liable for trying to keep YouTube “safe and enjoyable for all users’’.
Google drew attention in August 2017 when it fired an Engr, James Damore, who wrote an internal memo saying that biological differences led to fewer women in various technology jobs.
Damore sued Google in January, saying it was biased against white men with conservative views.