A few weeks ago I had noticed for the first time that the Internet Archive started requiring people to login before they are able to view certain content. To be clear, the login is not required for all content but only for specific content. Also, the login requirement is placed on the content after a while — probably when they receive complaints about it.
My case from a few weeks ago involved a video containing content that is deemed to be ‘controversial’ by the more weak-minded. That video used to be viewable on the Internet Archive for many months without requiring you to login. When I looked back after many months I noticed that the Internet Archive website required you to login before you could watch the video.
Today I discovered the same thing with videos of the recent ‘controversial’ press conference of Dr. Dan Erickson and Dr. Artin Massihi of Bakersfield, California regarding COVID-19. Videos of that press conference got censored on YouTube and other social media platforms. When I did a search on the Internet Archive for ‘dan erickson’ I got the results seen in the screenshot below, and as you can see, most of the videos require you to login before you can view them. Even the video thumbnails are blurred. I had also uploaded a version of the same press conference to the Internet Archive, and after a day or two, my videos also started requiring people to login before they could view them.
This looks to me like a clear case of censorship by putting up another hurdle in between the content and the user. It serves to discourage users from viewing the content. Users who have to login, or who even have to go through the whole process of creating an account first on the Internet Archive, are likely to decide not to watch it and leave. It’s similar to the effect that ‘deboosting’ has on content, and the effect that ‘slow banning’ has on a website user.
Requiring a login is just another weapon in the censor’s arsenal; YouTube used to do this before they started implementing increasingly more draconian forms of censorship. It’s a shame that even the Internet Archive, of all websites, is now apparently also listening to Big Tech when it comes to what information should be allowed on the Internet. If we can take YouTube as an example, then it may be just a matter of time before things get much worse on the Internet Archive.