And I guess to go back to the OP... https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/11/01/goog-n01.html
The Democrats focused their remarks on demands that the Internet companies take even more aggressive steps to censor content. In one particularly noxious exchange, Feinstein pressed Googleâ€™s legal counsel on why it took so long for YouTube (which is owned by Google) to revoke the status of Russia Today as a â€œpreferredâ€ broadcaster. She demanded, â€œWhy did Google give preferred status to Russia Today, a Russian propaganda arm, on YouTube? ... It took you until September of 2017 to do it.â€
Regardless of the lame answer given, it's possibly because the US government didn't actually declare RT to be a "Foreign agent" until November of 2017? So Facebook actually beat the government on this.
Facebook certainly found itself in the odd situation of dealing with an about-face on the nature of RT itself. Prior to the 2016 election, the broad assumption was that Russian propaganda was generally favorable to what we would define as "liberal" interests (or at least "anti-Republican, given that some hosts and guests were on the far libertarian side of things as well). Point being that RT was generally viewed as a positive messaging source for the "left" in the US, and thus ignored by the Democrats, the Obama administration, and certainly the bulk of our social media tools like Facebook.
It basically got caught up in the "Russia helped Trump, thus everything Russian must be eliminated" hysteria. Almost certainly causing confusion among outlet controllers like Facebook, who viewed RT as being a positive message source for their audience, and would not have understood why it shouldn't have "preferred broadcaster status, just like folks like Al Jazeera. These are foreign media sources that provide alternative views of the world and news events. It's strange that despite the assumption that this should be about all foreign influence/meddling, it's being focused just on Russia (again, cart leading the horse. Target is Trump, so target what's associated with Trump, right?).
There's no innate reason to think that RT is any more or less a foreign propaganda source than any of those other foreign based sources. It's just the current climate that is causing this.
I'll also point out that free speech is free speech. I'm frankly a bit concerned by the idea that we should be empowering anyone, whether Facebook or the government, to decide what sort of speech is "allowed", and what is not. What shows up and what is available should be based on models of use/access (and yes, payment) and have nothing at all to do with whether someone on the source side of the media flow subjectively agrees with the content, much less the source of the content
. To me, that's far more troubling than that someone might be able to point their browser at a media stream and *gasp* hear people expressing opinions. Even anti-American opinions.
Let the public decide what they like or dislike, or agree with or disagree with. Whatever. Yes, I know. I have as much healthy distrust in the average person being able to make good distinctions about the sources of information and/or veracity of whatever they're reading/watching as the next person (I'm probably more skeptical in fact). Um... But IMO, the alternative is worse. Having some process to shield people from "bad thought", it just a bad idea. Let it all out there, and let people figure it out.