Comedian Steven Crowder propelled #CrowderExposesYouTube into Twitter’s trending feed Tuesday with proof of YouTube’s efforts to hide news on Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.
The conservative YouTuber risked his 4.18 million-strong channel by directly taking on the social media giant’s meddling in news cycles.
At issue were search results around the world for Ms. Gabbard, the Hawaii Democrat who is vying to become the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential nominee, and claims by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that she is a “favorite” with “the Russians,” who are grooming her to run a spoiler third-party candidacy.
“We decided to again, while Tulsi Gabbard was in the spotlight, run some comparative searches on YouTube,” Mr. Crowder said Tuesday. “When we set our VPN … to a non-United States country and we searched for Tulsi Gabbard [on Friday], her channel and the videos from her channel all showed up first. Yet, again, when we switched our searches to the United States, however, nothing. Exclusively in the United States, the country in which she is currently running for president, you would receive no results from Tulsi Gabbard’s channel or her videos until scrolling past the first page.”
Mr. Crowder noted Ms. Gabbard’s Twitter popularity, something that would suggest it’d be easy to find her YouTube channel.
“So, that Friday, she’s trending [number] one on Twitter, all of the sudden — boom. Valve is pinched. You can’t find her exclusively in the United States. You can if you’re in Germany. You can if you’re in Spain. United States, however? Nothing,” he said.
Mr. Crowder, who shared evidence of his experiments, said that YouTube changed its algorithm once the news cycle died down Sunday.
“Let me say this: Tulsi Gabbard is not my candidate,” the host said. “I wouldn’t vote for her. But this, this is chilling … I don’t know if anyone else has proof that there is someone who flips a switch on YouTube to make your channel a part of the preferred channels network, whatever the hell it’s called … This reeks of election meddling.”
The conservative added that what he witnessed is “hair-raisingly scary” for viewers who care about free speech and fair elections.
Ms. Gabbard responded to Mrs. Clinton’s Russia theories on Friday by calling her “the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long.”
Mrs. Clinton specifically told David Plouffe, while not yet mentioning Ms. Gabbard by name on the “Campaign HQ” podcast, that “she’s the favorite of the Russians, they have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far.” She went on to say that Green Party candidate Jill Stein “also” was a “Russian asset.”
Nick Merrill, a Clinton spokesman, said “if the nesting doll fits” when asked whether the former secretary of state was talking about Ms. Gabbard, NBC News reported.