Project Veritas’s Vimeo Account Removed After Running Exposé on Google’s Political Manipulation

June 28, 2019 Updated: June 30, 2019

Video platform Vimeo has removed the account of investigative journalism outfit Project Veritas, which recently published a video showing Google employees and internal documents backing the allegation that Google infuses its political worldview into its products, while leaving the public in the dark about it.

Video platform YouTube, which is owned by Google, took the video down on June 24, the same day it was posted by Project Veritas. YouTube cited privacy complaints as a reason. But the complaints appear to have been filed by one of the Google employees caught on hidden camera by a Project Veritas reporter.

Vimeo followed suit on June 26, but instead of targeting the video, it removed Project Veritas’ entire account.

“Reason: You cannot upload videos that are hateful, discriminatory, or defamatory,” the notice from Vimeo reads.

When Project Veritas sought further explanation, a person from Vimeo’s Trust and Safety informed it:

“We don’t allow videos that are hateful, harass others, violate someone’s privacy, or include defamatory or discriminatory speech.

“Specifically, Vimeo moderators will generally remove videos that: Make derogatory or inflammatory statements about individuals or groups of people; are intended to harm someone’s reputation; have an overall mean-spirited vibe.”

Project Veritas spokesperson denied the video fit any of those characteristics.

“Our video didn’t make derogatory or inflammatory statements, was not intended to harm any reputation, and did not have a ‘mean-spirited vibe,’” he said via email. “The video was legitimate investigative journalism intended to inform people about statements made by Google officials, a Google insider, and leaked internal documents.”

With a cursory search, The Epoch Times was able to find a number of videos on Vimeo that could fall under the general description of making “derogatory or inflammatory statements about individuals or groups of people” or having “an overall mean-spirited vibe.”

Vimeo didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Google Response

Based on several internal documents as well as accounts of three Google employees—one speaking under the condition of anonymity, two caught on hidden camera—Google uses a doctrine of “fairness” to tweak its products in order to surreptitiously push its users toward its preferred political worldview.

One employee, Jen Gennai, head of Google’s Responsible Innovation, even appeared to say that Google’s goal in some of its efforts was preventing President Donald Trump or anybody like him from getting elected again—an assertion confirmed by the anonymous insider.

Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe said in a phone call that he redacted the names of certain Google employees in the video, but he disclosed Gennai’s because her comments were “newsworthy and the public has a right to know that information.”

“Jen Gennai is a public figure – she’s spoken publicly at conferences,” he said in a June 27 tweet, also adding. “This is a hugely significant issue re[garding the] largest tech company in history.”

Google spokespeople didn’t respond to information in the video and referred The Epoch Times to a June 24 Medium blog post by Gennai instead.

Gennai said that her talking about the 2020 election referred to Google’s efforts “to help prevent the types of online foreign interference that happened in 2016.”

Russia ran an influence operation before the 2016 election, but mostly on Facebook and Twitter.

Gennai didn’t mention Russia in the Project Veritas video. She said though, that breaking up Google, as advocated by some lawmakers, would “make it worse” since the resulting “smaller companies who don’t have the same resources that we do will be charged with preventing the next Trump situation.”

“It’s like a small company cannot do that,” she was recorded as saying.

Two Google executives were questioned by Republican lawmakers about the revelations.

Derek Slater, Google’s global director of information policy, insisted that the company is “designing for everyone.”

Maggie Stanphill, Google’s head of Digital Wellbeing, said she didn’t agree that Google should be in charge of “preventing the next Trump situation” or “intervene for fairness” in its machine-learning algorithms.

‘Algorithmic Unfairness’

One of the internal documents (pdf) said its goal was to “create a company-wide definition of algorithmic unfairness … for use in the development of measurement tool, product policy, incident response, and other internal functions.”

It defined “unfairness” as “unjust or prejudicial treatment that is related to sensitive characteristics such as race, income, sexual orientation, or gender.”

But Gennai was recorded as saying that her job was to bring “fairness” only to people who belong to groups deemed by Google as “historically marginalized.”

“Communities who are in power and have traditionally been in power are not who I’m solving fairness for,” she said.

Content inconsistent with the “fairness” doctrine is then buried in Google products such as YouTube and Google News, according to the unnamed insider.

For instance, when one types in the Google search bar “men can” and makes a space, the search engine suggests phrases like: “men can have babies,” “men can get pregnant,” and “men can have periods.”

When one types in “women can” and makes a space, the suggestions would show phrases like: “women can vote,” “Women can do anything,” and “women can be drafted.”

This isn’t because these phrases are so popular among users, but because the “fairness” algorithm pulled them from so-called “sources of truth”—they reflect the political narrative Google desires, the insider said.

Google has adopted the doctrine without informing its users, he said. “In fact, if you brought this up without the [internal] document [as a proof] they would say that this is a conspiracy theory.”

Follow Petr on Twitter: @petrsvab
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