Bella Thorne slams Big Tech companies after YouTube restricts music video: 'It's endangering American freedom'

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Bella Thorne is sounding off against Big Tech companies after YouTube removed her new music video before placing it back on the platform with restrictions.

The 23-year-old actress and singer spoke with Fox News after the excitement of the Feb. 19 release of her “Shake It” music video was compromised by YouTube’s removal of it.

Thorne says it wasn’t until she publicly condemned YouTube on social media, followed by outrage from her loyal fanbase, before the video-sharing platform took action to repost “Shake It.”

She says the controversy was further compounded by an age-restriction followed by a “shocking restriction,” which Thorne says essentially marks her video as “explicit” and has limited users from easily accessing the video through online search. To her knowledge, the restrictions have since been lifted.

“They just restricted me again, and again, and again. I think it’s so unfair and so wrong that they get to make right and wrong. They get to play God. Why do these Big Tech companies get to play God? Who made them God? It’s endangering American freedom,” Thorne said.

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‘Shake It’ singer Bella Thorne opens up to Fox News about YouTube removing her music video before reposting it with restrictions. 
(Daniele Venturelli/WireImage)

The former Disney star said in an interview this week that the only way fans could easily locate the video after the restrictions was by clicking the link in her Instagram bio. The video sees Thorne and her friend Abella Danger playing love interests in lingerie.

“They’re saying the video is ‘so shocking’ that I’m making out with this girl. Can we talk about how ridiculous this is? There’s no nudity in the video. We’re doing a hip-hop routine and making out. This is so explicit to the world that the world can’t see it,” Thorne told Fox News.

Thorne says she’s now worried about the power Big Tech is playing with and calls for reform of Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which offers liability protections for Big Tech platforms on the Internet.

“All of Big Tech is guilty. They have so much power and they’re also not using their power in the right way. Put your power where it actually makes a difference,” Thorne shared as a message to YouTube and other giant platforms. 

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The artist questioned why these companies aren’t being held accountable for dangerous content on the Internet, such as footage of obscene violence as well persistent bullying on message boards, in comments sections, and more.

A look at YouTube’s policy guidelines shows the site has policies in place for “violent or graphic content.” Reps for YouTube did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment. 

“There are threads on the Internet featuring people telling someone to ‘go kill yourself.’ You can go on the Internet and find someone’s brain being smashed in. The Internet is a dark a– place and Big Tech is focusing on the wrong things. You have all of these problems in front of you that they could fix, and they don’t,” Thorne said.

Thorne says the initial removal and added restrictions placed on her video send a message to all artists that they don’t have the freedom to post their art.

“The message that they’re sending is that they are God, and they will decide what you’re going to do. They’re going to decide your career, they get to decide if your fans see this video or not. They get to decide if they see your art. That is unfair,” she said.

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Earlier this week, Thorne took to her social media channels to question YouTube over the controversy.

“@youtube is this how you’re celebrating women’s month???? First you take it down and then you put it back up because my fans came after you (thankful for my babies) Second you put an age restriction and then we fought you on that And now you put a Shocking restriction on the video so people can’t even find the video?” she wrote, adding: “You tweeted at me that you were sorry and that it was YouTube’s mistake, but you guys are are full of it and then you said sorry but still did it twice after. What’s that about!? And you all wonder why I’m on only fans.”

In recent weeks, the 23-year-old says she’s been questioning “why Big Tech has so much power” and “how this is affecting our free speech.”

Actress and singer Bella Thorne says Section 230 should be revisited.
(Getty)

“If we can get Section 230 looked at again we could make strides. These Big Tech companies say, ‘We do our best to keep you safe.’ No, you f—-ing don’t. You need to concentrate on making changes in the right places because you can. You hold all the power,” she added.

She said she also believes the restrictions on “Shake It” are an attack against women and the LGBTQ community.

“If I was having a fake sex scene with a man … every other pop star does that in their music videos and they don’t get taken down,” she said. “So, is it woman on woman? Is that what the problem is? What is that triple standard [YouTube] is laying on here? The fact that you can find gun violence all over the Internet and you let that fly. Violence in every aspect is out there but taking issue with two girls making out is telling me you have something against my community.”

Despite her fury, Thorne refuses to take down her YouTube account because she feels that would be letting the wrong people win.

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“If I delete my YouTube account they’re still going to be doing this. That would just be them bullying me off their platform and I don’t want to do that. They can’t force me in that decision,” Thorne shared. “If other artists get involved, I think it’ll really change the narrative. My fans got involved — I love my fans so much — and they pressured YouTube into changing this.”

Bella Thorne refuses to let YouTube win by deleting her account on the video-sharing platform.
(Jemal Countess/FilmMagicQ)

Thorne is gearing up for another release of a new song and music video later this month. She was in the middle of filming her upcoming video when the “Shake It” controversy with YouTube began.

“I was literally in the middle of YouTube taking down my video and I said on set to the crew, ‘No, you guys don’t make the bedding sexy. I don’t want YouTube to take down my video again.’ It made me so mad that I said that. Them getting in my head and me thinking, ‘I have to change myself to make them happy.’ That was letting them control me and my artistic freedom,” she said.

In its first few days following the “Shake It” release, Thorne informed her fans they were “breaking YouTube” because of its success. As of Saturday, the video has been viewed nearly 1.5 million times, although Thorne is aware the amount of views and the video’s algorithm was likely compromised due to the website’s restrictions.

“You guys took down my video so not only could no one find it, you actually took it down so you lost me 2 million videos right off the bat. You broke the success of my record without a doubt 100%,” she said.

Thorne said that in her speaking up, she hopes other creatives, celebrities and members of the general public will join her in a bigger conversation about the dangers of where Big Tech is headed.

“I think it’ll really change the narrative if people get involved. Of course, what my fans did was so helpful. But this is a bigger debate. What about the millions of kids who have killed themselves after being bullied on your platform publicly for the whole world to see? How come Big Tech isn’t taking a harsh a– look at their own standards and putting them directly in focus with how they are hurting communities? Where’s the liability?”

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