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TV Maven: YouTube Scientology Freeze: Coincidence or Censorship?

February 14, 2008

Published: February 14, 2008 at 01:54 PM GMT
Last Updated: February 15, 2008 at 01:54 PM GMT

Suddenly the hottest topic on YouTube is Scientology. Some 5000 videos related to the church founded by L. Ron Hubbard have been uploaded to the video-sharing site over the past four weeks. Nearly 3000 of those have been added in the past week. Just today, Feb. 14, more than 250 new clips with “Scientology” in their tags have shown up.
But the content is not without controversy.
This guy claims that for 48 hours YouTube froze the view counts on videos criticizing Scientology, including hundreds of clips from last Sunday’s “Anonymous” protests at 250 church properties around the world.
My firsthand experience is that this did happen. I uploaded a 3:40 video of the Dallas protest around 4 p.m. Sunday. Within a few hours it had attracted hundreds of views and dozens of comments. But the count remained stuck on the number 761 from Sunday night to Tuesday afternoon, when it suddenly jumped to more than 3,000 views.
YouTube says this was a server problem: “There was an issue with video view counts not increasing that has now been resolved. The correct number of views should be displayed in the next 24 hours. Thanks for your patience.”
Conspiracy-lovers, such as the followers of Anonymous who took part in last Sunday’s anti-Scientology rallies, might say the coincidental freeze-ups helped keep all Scientology-related videos off YouTube’s front page. Certainly some of them would have qualified as “most-watched” on Sunday and Monday.
The original “Anonymous” message alone has garnered nearly 2.5 million views and has not yet been featured as a “most-watched.”
No similar glitches have been previously reported.
YouTube has been pressured by the Church of Scientology before to take down leaked footage of Tom Cruise in a church promo, and a three-hour speech by church leader David Miscavige.
Currently YouTube hosts more than 70 million videos and about 5 million user channels. 

Click Below to Follow the Coverage:
2/15/08 PM YouTube Yanks "Anonymous" Video
2/14/08 PM YouTube Scientology Freeze: Coincidence or Censorship?
2/14/08 AM Internet's "Anonymous" Puts Scientology and Tom Cruise on Notice

For more on this subject, check out Ed Martin's review of the South Park episode Trapped in the Closet and his column about the bizarre public behavior of Tom Cruise. Also read TVMaven's take on the infamous Tom Cruise Scientology video.

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Genny - February 15, 2008
Coincidence!? I don't think so... I guess that makes me a conspiracy lover?!! lol, Anyhow, I think it's just amazing what viral video can do, even to the biggest and richest organizations. Way to go Anonymous!
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