LOS ANGELES — On February 7, 2018, PragerU – the not-for-profit that produces animated five-minute educational videos featuring world-renowned thinkers, politicians, advocates and philosophers – received an email notification from Twitter announcing: “@prageru, your account is ineligible to participate in Twitter Ads.” The notification went on to state, “This determination is based on the following Twitter Ads policy: @prageru: Inappropriate Content.”
PragerU’s attempt to reply to the notification was met with an auto-responder: “Hi, We’re glad you wrote. Unfortunately, the email you responded to is unmonitored.”
When PragerU team members checked the organization’s Twitter account, they saw an alert that encouraged them to contact Twitter Ads Support to “resolve the issue.” After emailing Twitter Ad Support, they received another automated reply that pointed them to Twitter’s ad policy page outlining the Social Network’s standards for “inappropriate content.”
More than two weeks later, despite multiple attempts by PragerU to reach out to Twitter for additional clarity as to what specific content or posts were deemed inappropriate, Twitter has yet to respond with anything beyond an automated email.
According to the company’s website, Twitter’s ad policy applies, but is not limited to, content it deems as anything from obscene, vulgar, shocking, or offensive. Twitter does not define what it deems as “offensive” nor does the policy specify who determines, or by what process, content is ultimately categorized as unacceptable.
“It’s all very arbitrary, mysterious, and impersonal,” says Craig Strazzeri, CMO of PragerU. “We’ve tried to get to the bottom of this but Twitter has yet to allow us to speak with a real live human being, or explained how we can avoid this problem in the future. For Twitter to suggest that PragerU is somehow engaged in intentionally inappropriate behavior is laughable. Our content is expressly PG, features some of the finest minds in the world, and is produced so that it’s suitable for all ages. You don’t have to look very far for R-rated content on Twitter. In fact, one of the few places you won’t find it is on PragerU’s page. The whole ordeal smacks of big-tech’s censorship of conservatives.”
CEO of PragerU, Marissa Streit adds, “When PragerU comes out with a new video, we want it to be viewed by as many people as possible. That is the fulfillment of our organizational mission, to provide access to world’s most important ideas: ideas which young people may never hear anywhere else. Our goal is to specifically teach young people, to defend the uniquely American ideals of limited government, freedom of speech and economic freedom. First Google/YouTube started restricting our videos, now Twitter is prohibiting us from promoting our posts. Until they correct this issue or explain how we can resolve any misunderstanding, we’re left to assume Twitter is targeting us because of the political views we espouse.”
In October, PragerU filed a lawsuit against Google – owner of YouTube, the world’s largest video platform and the second most used search engine (behind only Google itself) – for demonetizing and restricting access to 10 percent of the organization’s video library. Many of PragerU’s videos remain restricted from the very audience it hopes to reach, namely young people, who account for more than 60 percent of PragerU’s more than 1.15 billion online views. PragerU’s lawsuit maintains that the organization’s videos have been restricted, not because they are explicit, vulgar or obscene in nature, or inappropriate for children in any way, but rather because they promote conservative ideas.
Companies like Google/YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have come under increasing scrutiny in recent months as they have grown to near monopolies with respect to the publication and dissemination of information online. The lawsuit has placed PragerU at the center of a heated, national debate about free speech on the internet and carries with it profound implications for both the future of the First Amendment and political debate more generally in America.
MEDIA NOTE: PragerU CEO Marissa Streit and CMO Craig Strazzeri are available for comment. Inquiries can be made by emailing: MediaInquiries@theKcompany.co
PragerU, founded by Dennis Prager in 2011, is a not-for-profit organization that helps millions understand the values that shaped America and provides millions of Americans and people around the world with the intellectual ammunition they need to advocate for limited government, individual responsibility and economic freedom. In 2016 alone, PragerU’s videos received over 250 million views, a figure that will eclipse 625 million in 2017. PragerU is a resource for all who value liberty. It is a threat to all those who do not.