YouTube says it won't remove most Al-Qaeda videos

Posted by Humphrey Cheung

Mountain View (CA) – YouTube has told Senator Lieberman that it will leave it up to its viewers to help remove Al-Qaeda terrorist videos.  In an open letter, Lieberman demanded that YouTube immediately remove thousands of videos because they clearly intended “to encourage violence against the West”.  YouTube in its public blog post says hundreds of thousands of videos are uploaded everyday and that it cannot arbitrarily remove one group's videos.

It's easy to see Lieberman's viewpoint because he is a conservative-leaning independent and the chairman of the powerful Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.  He believes that most of the Al-Qaeda videos show “gratuitous violence” and that terrorist organizations use the popular video site to spread propaganda and perhaps even worse recruit followers.  He added that the terrorist groups even use YouTube for weapons training.

In the open letter to Google head Eric Schmidt, Lieberman demanded that all of the Al-Qaeda videos be immediately removed (even the nonviolent ones).  Schmidt and the YouTube team did actually remove many of the violent videos, but left all of the non-violent videos.  He emphasized that users are always free to leave feedback and “flag” videos that are offensive.

“Users are always free to express their disagreement with a particular video on the site, by leaving comments or their own response video. That debate is healthy,” said Schmidt.

The sheer volume of videos received on YouTube also necessitates a community-based approach to removal of videos.  YouTube says that they don't have the technology to scan and block every objectionable video uploaded and that it must rely on users to help.

Read more:

Senator Lieberman's open letter

YouTube team's response