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Today Google pushed a Hillary Clinton campaign ad to millions of people as ‘Trending on YouTube’

If you have a mobile device with the Google YouTube app installed, and notifications turned on, around 2PM CT you likely receive an announcement about a ‘trending’ video on YouTube. There are of course thousands of trending videos that you didn’t get notified about, but this one was selected as worthy. It’s the latest anti-Trump video from the Hillary Clinton campaign titled Role Models.

The Video Actually Isn’t Trending

If you check the list of videos that actually are trending according to YouTube, that video isn’t among them. The video which launched yesterday had about 230,000 views – which sounds like a lot, but others are equally popular. Even after YouTube’s forced push announcement of the video, it STILL isn’t listed among the trending videos. It will be interesting to see how effective that stunt was to get exposure for the video. It may be enough of a bump for some news outlets to proclaim it as a trending and popular video, so they can report it as newsworthy (since otherwise candidates are required to pay for advertising).

An Equal Time Violation

This incident raises the question about the role of news media, social media, content providers, and conduit providers in the political process. Should Google or any other news agency be permitted to take a political commercial and declare that it is trending? Even if it were trending, wouldn’t this be an example of an imbalance of coverage, and a violation of equal time requirements?

Hillary Clinton as a Role Model

What’s sadly ironic about the ad coming from the Clinton campaign is that it is about how bad behavior on the part of adults establishes bad role models for young people.

What are young people to think when someone puts our nation at risk by sloppily handling classified documents, then lies to the American people about it, then somehow doesn’t get in trouble for it, while others who are referred to as super predators sit in prison for non-violent drug offenses.

From Hillary Clinton’s behavior, young people will conclude that:

  • It’s okay to lie in order to get out of trouble.
  • Government is corrupt at every level. At every level there are people who are sloppy, make mistakes, and cover for one another.
  • If you’re powerful enough, you won’t get into trouble and you can smugly and confidently watch as other suffer for lesser crimes. So, do all you can to become a powerful person who is high enough on the food chain to avoid accountability.
  • There’s a lot of injustice where people of color who have committed lesser crimes get harsh prison sentences while white people with money, power, and influence can get away with anything.

Hillary isn’t exactly the best role model either.

Personal Attacks Don’t Help

There are some substantive national policy issues that need to be reported on and discussed. Political ads like this one, aiming at attacking someone’s character, simply are a distraction from the many serious crisis situations we face as a nation. Rather than telling us what they are against, politicians need to tell us what they are in favor of, and how they plan to produce meaningful measurable outcomes toward achieving those goals.

What Actually IS Trending on YouTube

You can check the YouTube Trending page to see what actually is trending on YouTube. Usually notifications are reserved for serious stories and not political ads. Take a look below at what actually is trending on YouTube. If you scroll down, you won’t be finding any political ads, at least not at this time.


YouTube Trending Announcement Screen Shot

A screen shot of the misleading trending announcement is below shown as it appeared on the iOS and Android platforms.



A Message from the Author

Below is my Facebook post regarding the above story.

By Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson is a freelance writer and tech consultant in Iowa City. He is also the founder and Director of the ResourcesForLife.com website. Learn more at AboutGregJohnson.com

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