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Thursday, May 8, 2008

On YouTube’s Scientology Channel

Last week I asked Google and YouTube press support (and another Google employee) whether their Scientology channel was paid. The channel was listed in the “Sponsors” section of the site, for one thing, and Scientology has been seen spending many advertising dollars with Google in AdSense campaigns. One reason why I asked was that the page included a link to without “nofollow” – which would make it a paid link, which would be against Google’s own webmaster guidelines.

Now, while Google did not reply to me offering a disclosure whether it’s an ad or not, I can see the links to Scientology from that page are now nofollowed.

Michel, who informed me about the Scientology channel at YouTube, states another interesting bit – but I can’t tell if Michel is right or not (and his email did not resolve when I tried to follow-up with him). On May 1st Michel wrote:

[T]he Church of Scientology launched a new expensive channel on YouTube just a over a week after YouTube deleted the Xenutv1 account owned by one of the loudest of Scientology’s critics, Mark Bunker! On April 1, the Xenutv1 account was deleted by Youtube for “copyright rules” ...because the Bunker, the site owner had a former account that posted a copywrited clip from the Colbert Report show.

Therefore, YouTube explains, he was not allowed to open a new account, so they deleted the Xenutv1 account for Terms Of Service TOS violations.

Now, guess what? The Church of Scientology had a previous account which was permanently banned due to ToS violations (posted videos targeting individuals and broadcasting their personal information [picture, name, location, alleged alias]).

According to Youtube’s strict rule-set, the “Church” is not allowed to have a second account (“channel”). This rule was made VERRRRY CLEAR by Youtube when they banned Mark Bunker’s account (XenuTV1). The XenuTv1 YouTube account was deleted 3 days after Bunker posted a 10 minute interview of the ex-Scientologist, Jason Beghe, that was watched by over a half million viewers before it disappeared. Bunker was about to post 3 hours of additional interviews with Bunker when his account was deleted.

Michel in his email links out to Wired and GlossLip for further details. If you know more about this story or if you know whether the YouTube channel is an ad, please share.


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