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Banned conspiracy channels are suing YouTube over its anti-QAnon moderation push

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YouTube is facing a lawsuit from a group of channel owners who say their rights were violated by the platform’s recent moderation actions against QAnon accounts. The users, many of whom boasted hundreds of thousands of followers on the platform, are seeking a temporary restraining order to restore their accounts.

“YouTube’s massive de-platforming, which occurred just three weeks before the 2020 Presidential election, worked to the severe detriment of both conservative content creators and American voters who seek out their content,” the complaint alleges. “YouTube took this draconian action so swiftly that the Plaintiffs… received no advance notice and were not able to download their own content.”

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act typically protects platforms from lawsuits over moderation actions, and the law is likely to be a pillar of YouTube’s legal defense. Republicans have proposed adding a “duty of faith” clause to Section 230, which would make it easier for lawsuits of this nature to succeed. But none of those efforts have made it into law. As a result, the lawsuit’s legal merit remains uncertain.

At least one of the channels ran into trouble for conspiracy content before the October 15th policy shift. The SGT Report channel, run by the lead plaintiff in the case, was suspended in 2018 after promoting unfounded allegations about Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin terrorizing a small child — although the channel was reinstated after subscribers complained. Another of the accounts, TRU Reporting, has promoted a number of Pizzagate-adjacent conspiracy theories on Twitter, including allegations that children in the Biden family are victims of sex trafficking.

YouTube has long struggled with conspiracy content, but it has only recently taken concrete steps to reduce its spread. In 2018, the platform began adding “authoritative” links to videos about conspiracy-adjacent topics like the Moon landing or the Oklahoma City bombing, in the hopes that factual information would steer users away from wilder theories. The following year, YouTube changed its algorithm to downrank conspiracy content, and platform moderators took a harder line against conspiracy videos, even banning a Shane Dawson video that explored popular conspiracies.

On October 15th, 2020, YouTube took that campaign a step further, expanding its hate and harassment policies “to prohibit content that targets an individual or group with conspiracy theories that have been used to justify real-world violence.” The policies were particularly focused on the QAnon conspiracy theory, resulting in the immediate removal of tens of thousands of QAnon videos and hundreds of channels.

In the lawsuit, however, plaintiffs frame the moderation move as targeting conservative YouTube channels more generally, playing into long-standing Republican concerns about anti-conservative bias on platforms. The complaint cites the plaintiffs’ free speech rights under the First Amendment, arguing that the removal of the channels in the weeks running up to the election will trigger irreparable harm to the public.

“Because Plaintiffs’ channels address issues of public concern that are highly relevant to the November 3 election and its anticipated aftermath,” the complaint reads, “both Plaintiffs and the public will suffer irreparable harm in the absence of an immediate and affirmative injunction.”

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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Apple will replace AirPods Pro for free with faulty noise cancellation, static or crackling

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Today, exactly one year after Apple first launched the AirPods Pro — and thus the same day the very first AirPods Pro owners will see their one-year warranties expire — Apple has launched a repair program that offers free repairs or replacements for another whole year if your AirPods Pro experience issues with noise cancellation or static.

Specifically, Apple will fix:

Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise or while talking on the phone

Active Noise Cancellation not working as expected, such as a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds, such as street or airplane noise

Apple says only a “small percentage of AirPods Pro” are affected by the issues, but it apparently wasn’t just an early batch — Apple says affected units were manufactured “before October 2020,” meaning every AirPods Pro ever made might be eligible. That’s quite a recall if so. Apple says it will repair faulty AirPods Pro for two years after you first buy them.

We’ve heard complaints about degraded noise cancellation before, and at least one Verge editor has replaced their AirPods Pro under warranty. It’s nice to hear that Apple isn’t just cutting buyers off as soon as that warranty expires.

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This 55″ 4K TCL Smart TV Hangs on Your Wall for $200

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

TCL 55″ S434 4K Smart TV | $200 | Best Buy

Best Buy has an insane deal going for a brand new 55″ 4K TCL smart TV. It’s the S434, which is pretty baseline for TCL’s lineup, but at just $200, there’s little to complain about. TCL’s panels are plenty sharp and accurate, and with this set, you’ll get HDR10 compliance for enhanced color and brightness in supported games and video content. This model has Android TV onboard for all your app needs, and with an included voice remote, all your favorite content is just a shout away with the help of Google Assistant.

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