YouTube Bans Al Qaeda

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 3 months ago

Senator Joseph Lieberman deserves our thanks for tireless work to convince Google, owner of YouTube, to ban al Qaeda.

Senator Joseph Lieberman claims to have struck a mighty blow against the forces of al Qaeda this week by pressuring YouTube to forbid users from uploading terrorist training videos.

The popular video site updated its “Community Guidelines” yesterday, warning terrorist cells they’re at serious risk of violating the site’s Terms of Service — and may even face having their YouTube accounts permanently terminated.

The Connecticut Senator celebrated victory for his three month campaign in a press release circulated September 11 titled, “Google Tightens Standards for YouTube Videos in Response to Lieberman’s Pressure.”

“YouTube was being used by Islamist terrorist organizations to recruit and train followers via the Internet and to incite terrorist attacks around the world, including right here in the United States, and Google should be commended for recognizing that,” Lieberman said in a statement. “I expect these stronger community guidelines to decrease the number of videos on YouTube produced by al Qaeda and affiliated Islamist terrorist organizations.”

Google makes no mention of Lieberman in its community blog outlining the policy change.

“We’ve updated the Community Guidelines to address some of the most common questions users ask us about inappropriate content. Included in the update are a few things to steer clear of, like not directly inciting violence or encouraging other users to violate the Terms of Service.”

Lieberman writes he is grateful for the response, but continues to urge Google to remove all videos produced by “Foreign Terrorist Organizations”, not just those that violate its community guidelines.

Intriguingly, his efforts may have also unintentionally thwarted another subversive group threatening Lady Liberty from the shadows. YouTube’s revised policy now forbids “things like instructional bomb making, ninja assassin training, sniper attacks, videos that train terrorists, or tips on illegal street racing. Any depictions like these should be educational or documentary and shouldn’t be designed to help or encourage others to imitate them.”

Actually, YouTube allegedly bans a little more than the list above.

“Things like predatory behavior, stalking, threats, harassment, intimidation, invading privacy, revealing other people’s personal information, and inciting others to commit violent acts or to violate the Terms of Use are taken very seriously. Anyone caught doing these things may be permanently banned from YouTube.”

A brief search of YouTube found some radical Islamist preachings, including some from Al Qaeda’s No. 2 leader Ayman al Zawahiri, but no violent clips.

So any violent videos will be banned in the future. But what about Ayman al-Zawahiri’s prose? It should be deleted. The reactionary and hysterical among us might scream censorship, and demand to know who the censor will be? The Captain’s Journal says that this is simple. The censor will do the censoring. In this case, Google would be the censor, and they have guidelines as stated above (” … inciting others to commit violent acts”).

We support free speech, including the right to criticize or lampoon the current leadership or political policies. What we don’t support is sedition and violent overthrow of the West as does al Qaeda. But it is a remarkable and positive step that Google – the very same Google who caved to Chinese pressure to censor for political views – would take this self-imposed step to censor al Qaeda. What took so long, and why can’t the decision regarding China be reversed? After all, we might be seeing signs of discernment, guts and fortitude.  Or perhaps not.


You are currently reading "YouTube Bans Al Qaeda", entry #1296 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) al Qaeda,Google,Media and was published September 13th, 2008 by Herschel Smith.

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