One of the greatest impacts that the global pandemic has had on culture and entertainment is show how evident the change of consumption of these products have become. With ‘quarantine hits’ like “Tiger King” or “The Last Dance”, streaming platforms are now a daily part of many lives.
As they replace traditional broadcasting channels and cinemas, the role that these platforms play when it comes to curating or discouraging certain contents to its viewers are getting greater.
A Hollywood Reporter piece looked into how more than 6 controversial documentaries have been hidden or removed from various different platforms in just one year. It is no surprise that content creators and viewers all lament this decision.
For instance, YouTube made the controversial decision of pulling down Michael Moore’s recent documentary “Planet of the Humans”. It looked into the potentially corrupting influence that money could have on the global environmental and conservation movements.
Typical of his style, Moore made the bold decision to release the entire documentary for free on his personal YouTube channel so that more people can share and join the debate.
In a controversial move, YouTube removed the film against the wishes of Moore because a photographer’s complaint that 4 seconds of the documentary used his material. Toby Smith, the photographer, said he filed the complaint because he didn’t agree with Moore’s take on the issue.
In essence, by pulling down the entire documentary because of a minute complaint, YouTube prevented the potentially damaging message from going viral online. After much protest from Moore and his fans, the platform giant restored the documentary on his channel.
Oscar-winning documentarian Alex Gibney’s “Citizen K” is another startling example. The documentary looks into a Russian oligarch and the role that Russian President Vladimir Putin played in the entire process.
After the work was invited to premiered in the Venice Film Festival, the original distributor of the doc, Amazon, suddenly dropped out. Amazon denied that the change was due to the subject matter, but many found it strange how it dropped out after funding the screening at Venice.
“Hoaxed”, a conservative approach on leftist media, faced similar fates by Amazon when it was suddenly pulled off the website without any explanation being provided to the producers of the film.
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