Google bans major podcast app for indexing unsanctioned opinions on an urgent health topic

Google’s banned a major podcast app for merely indexing (not hosting) unsanctioned opinions about an urgent health topic. Google’s own app breaks that same rule but that doesn’t excuse the former.

No one is a free speech absolutist. There’s always an inevitable line where everyone attempts to cajole others into not saying certain things. If you ever want to catch an absolutist out just invite them to a movie theater, sit beside them and start talking mid-movie. :slight_smile:

Though I feel most would agree these lines need to be more diversified than belonging to a handful of monolithic companies. There’s always good arguments to justify increasing the use of their “root” access to control narratives en’ mass but it’s a trend that seems ever increasing and it’s not without risk. Humans need bad information to build their faculties and inoculate themselves against mistakes in future high risk situations that’ll be far worse otherwise. Too much misinformation and you’ve got a problem, too little and people will believe anything. There’s some balance and I think a little line diversity goes a long way to building anti-BS herd immunity.

Really reminds me of how important FOSS is.

tldr summary:
“One of the most popular podcast players on the Google Play store, Podcast Addict, has been suspended on the grounds that some of the podcasts it indexes reference the coronavirus but aren’t approved by government entities or public health organizations.”

“Google isn’t applying these same rules to its own podcast app – Google Podcasts.”

“Additionally, Podcast Addict noted that Google’s requested “fix” for the app will result in it being published as a new download which means the 9 million+ downloads and 500,000+ reviews that it has accumulated on the Google Play store over the last nine years will be wiped out.”

While moderation is unavoidable on the internet, I think this is over the line. Not only rule is too vague and yet at the same time strict but really difficult to enforce for App creators.

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Agreed, if even the big names can’t follow their own rules what chance does a small business have even if the objective of the rules is reasonable?

I had yet another reminder today of how important narrative diversity is… I can’t say if this story is true but gov’t suppression of inconvenient science is a thing and it’s emboldened by the kinds of policies Google’s been adopting. It’s hard to know where the line is supposed to be but absolute banning of unofficial narratives provisions some pretty nasty behavior.

Florida scientist refused to manipulate COVID-19 data and was fired