After a Slate writer complained, YouTube changed ‘abortion’ search results

April Glaser, a writer for Slate, was outraged when she discovered the search results on  Google owned YouTube were what she described as “anti-abortion” and “misleading.”

One top result was a clip called “LIVE Abortion Video on Display,” which over the course of a gory two minutes shows images of a formed fetus’ tiny feet resting in a pool of blood. Several of the top results featured a doctor named Antony Levatino, including one in which he testified to the House Judiciary Committee that Planned Parenthood was aborting fetuses “the length of your hand plus several inches” in addition to several misleading animations that showed a fetus that looks like a sentient child in the uterus. The eighth result was a video from conservative pundit Ben Shapiro, just above a video of a woman self-narrating a blog titled, “Abortion: My Experience,” with text in the thumbnail that reads, “My Biggest Mistake.” Only two of the top 15 results struck me as not particularly political, and none of the top results focused on providing dispassionate, up-to-date medical information.

Glaser contacted YouTube asking why “anti-abortion videos saturated the search results for “abortion,” and if the platform thought accurate, health-focused information had a place there. ”

A few days later, and before the company responded to her e-mail, she checked the search results again and found they had changed to include videos from news sites, Vice, clips of former Governor Mike Huckabee stating why he’s pro-life, and an interview with the director Penny Marshall that had the word “abortion” in the title.

YouTube responded by telling her that they provide “a platform for free speech where anyone can choose to post videos, subject to our Community Guidelines.” They also didn’t say how they altered the search results but it was obvious a change had been made.

So because a liberal writer didn’t like seeing the bloody and gory truth about abortion and felt the videos might deter or delay someone getting “medical care”, YouTube decided to tweak search results to appease a liberal narrative.

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