Google App Censoring Covid-19 Courses
I have taken and really benefited from the Great Courses series of recorded college lectures. The one on Dante is so great that I wish I could buy a copy for everybody I know. Turns out that the Great Courses folks recorded some lectures from academic authorities offering takes on Covid-19.
A reader writes tonight:
A friend of mine took these screenshots. I have no idea the quality of the lectures on Great Courses, or if the info is legitimately misinformation, but it seems a bit dangerous for google to be able to censor apps that have info about COVID-19.
Here are the screenshots:
Here is a link to Dr. David Kung’s app-banned clip on How Math Predicts the Coronavirus Curve.
Here is a link to Dr. Kevin Ahern’s app-banned clip titled Viral Intelligence: What Is Coronavirus?
Here is a link to Dr. Roy Benaroch’s app-banned clip titled Coronavirus Outbreak: What You Need To Know
What could these courses possibly say that offends Google? Maybe Google simply has a blanket policy of not allowing any non-official Covid-19 discussion on its platform. If that is the case, then the reader is right: it is really bad news that Google exercises its right to censor any non-government app featuring Covid-19 information — even from college professors.
Google is a private entity. It has the right to control what goes out on its app platform. Whether Google is morally correct to exercise that right to suppress any unofficial pandemic information is a different question — and a very important one. Google owns YouTube — how long will they allow these courses to remain on YouTube?
UPDATE: A reader writes:
Your website is one of the only ones I could find that has covered the banning of the Great Courses covid videos from Google. I wanted to add that this content was not only removed from the Android (Google version) of the app but also from the entire app itself, including the online version, and the Apple app version (I would presume). Definitely a ripple effect. What recourse the Great Courses has to fight back, I don’t know, but it will be interesting to see.
UPDATE.2: Reader Mario Diana comments:
I just got off the phone with one of the Great Courses Plus representatives, because the lectures cannot be played via their Apple TV app either. She told me that they had to remove it from their Google app, and so they have removed it, for now, from their other platforms, while they figure out if they can offer it on their other platforms (such as Apple TV), and that hopefully the lectures unavailability is just temporary. (I’m sorry if that leaves questions.)
The representative told me the lectures are available through their “Great Courses Daily” on the web.
I have a large library of their CD’s and DVD’s, as I’ve been their customer for years, and I just recently subscribed to their “Plus” service. This is really sad.
You can see the removed courses in the links I provide above. They are short — each only about 15 minutes.