A YouTube ad for a charity supporting military veterans was suppressed recently because it contained the keyword “Christian,” the charity’s founder says.
Chad Robichaux, a U.S. Marine veteran and founder of the Mighty Oaks Foundation, said his marketing team attempted to publish the ad Saturday for an episode of the “Mighty Oaks Show,” which features interviews with vets and content focused on the veteran community.
The ad was to promote an episode of the show that had an interview with Darrin Dick, the director, and producer of the documentary “Unforgotten.” The film tells the story of how Korean War veteran Harold Bauer, Dick’s grandfather, had found hope and healing in his Christian faith.
“So one of the keywords to boost the ad,” Robichaux told Faithwire, “was the word ‘Christian,’ which we use regularly. The ad was denied specifically because of the use of the word ‘Christian.’”
The Faithwire report described a screenshot of an email from Google to Robichaux that indicated the keyword “Christian” was “unacceptable content” and a “potential policy violation.”
“This is the first time we’d seen this,” Robichaux said. “We called the (Google) helpline and they said that Google’s new criteria prohibited that word ‘Christian.’”
Everyone, whether Christian or Muslim, liberal or conservative, pro-life and not must realize “this is a dangerous path for America to go down,” Robichaux said of content censorship.
“How do we reach the people we’re called to reach?” he asked. “We’re not a political organization; we’re a ministry that’s called to serve the brokenhearted, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Robichaux noted that he has never been reluctant about his own conservative beliefs, but said, “We’re collateral damage to this political debate.”
Robichaux also provided two screenshots to the Christian news outlet to illustrate the double standard that Google applies toward Christians.
One showed he’d have had no problem using the keyword “Muslim,” and the other showed the word “Christian” was flagged.
The Faithwire piece was published Tuesday, and that same day Robichaux shared a screenshot of the YouTube message on Twitter.
“We ran a YouTube ad for our veterans ministry outreach for those in need & it was denied for the word ‘Christian,’” Robichaux said. “Insane!”
“Censorship should terrify every American; conservative or liberal, Christian or Muslim,” he continued. “This bias is a dangerous course for America.”
Since the tweet and the Faithwire report, YouTube responded on Twitter, stating:
We know that religious beliefs are personal, so we don’t allow advertisers to target users on the basis of religion. Beyond that, we don’t have policies against advertising that includes religious terms like “Christian.”
Robichaux, however, called YouTube to task in a reply to its statement responding to his tweet, again providing evidence via a screenshot.
“We ran the exact same ad with the keyword ‘Muslim’ & it was approved but ‘Christian’ was not,” he stated. “Additionally, we’ve run ads with the keyword ‘Christian’ for years. This year alone we had 150,000 impressions on that word in our ads. As per your support line, this is a new restriction.”
Examples of suppression of Christian, conservative and pro-life-related content by YouTube, its parent company Google and other big tech companies have been occurring for years.
YouTube was pulling videos from Live Action exposing questionable practices at Planned Parenthood as far back as 2009.
Anti-euthanasia advocate Alex Schadenberg had a video of an interview with him pulled in February 2016 with the explanation given that “the YouTube community” had determined it was offensive.
In January, leaked internal documents showed Google commonly manipulates search results to shroud YouTube searches for conservative topics. Google workers were found to manually curate black and white lists of search topics, conservative searches making the blacklist.
This contradicted Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s sworn testimony before Congress in December that Google employees don’t manipulate search results on the company’s platforms.
Pichai would go on and say in an interview in June that he wants YouTube to continue suppression of videos the company deems “harmful.”
In March, YouTube demonetized Dr. Michael Brown’s Christian ministry and his video “Can You Be Gay and Christian?” because Google employees were upset by Brown’s video explaining Christian teaching on same-sex “marriage.”
Google vice president Vishal Sharma agreed with the upset employees’ assessment.
Google will not allow advertising that “disparages people based on who they are — including their sexual orientation — and we remove ads that violate this basic principle,” Sharma said, adding that Google removed Brown’s ad because it “violates our policy.”
A Google software engineer confirmed earlier in March that the tech company has a bias against Christians, specifically labeling Christian YouTube ads “homophobic.”
YouTube demonetized a video conversation between Catholic evangelist Patrick Coffin and LifeSiteNews co-founder and editor-in-chief John-Henry Westen in May with the reasoning it had “confirmed it wasn’t suitable for all advertisers.”
YouTube stopped all revenue from conservative commentator and comedian Steven Crowder’s channel in June, responding to calls from left-wing news outlet Vox to ban Crowder completely.
Radio host and commentator Dennis Prager, co-founder of Prager University, testified before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution last week that “Google, which owns YouTube, has restricted access to 56 of our 320 five-minute videos and other videos we produce.”
The hearing was called to look at the issue of the global internet giant and censorship, particularly of conservative organizations, individuals, and ideas.
“Google has even restricted access to a video on the Ten Commandments. Yes, the Ten Commandments,” Prager said. “We have repeatedly asked Google why our videos are restricted. No explanation is ever given.”
Google vice president of government affairs and public policy Karan Bhatia contested the allegation that Google is partisan at the hearing.
“Google is not politically biased,” Bhatia said in prepared remarks.
“Indeed, we go to extraordinary lengths to build our products and enforce our policies in an analytically objective, apolitical way,” he said. “We do so because we want to create tools that are useful to all Americans. Our search engine and our platforms reflect the online world that is out there.”
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Ajit Pai told the Senate’s Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee in June that “unregulated Silicon Valley tech giants” present today’s biggest danger to a free internet.
“The greatest threat to a free and open internet has been the unregulated Silicon Valley tech giants that do, in fact, today decide what you see and what you don’t,” Pai said at a hearing on a number issues before the FCC. “There’s no transparency. There’s no consumer protections, and I think bipartisan members of both congressional chambers have now come to that realization.”