Video sharing sites like You Tube are a wonderful innovation, allowing people from all over the world to share videos online, however they also provide the means whereby terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda can promote videos that incite violence or other illegal activities.
You Tube has hosted a number of video clips that were created by Anwar al-Awlaki, who was believed to be the mastermind behind the latest plot involving cargo planes, and although his videos were removed by You Tube yesterday, many more videos that promote terrorism still remain.
The removal of the videos was begun following a request by the British Government to the White House, which complained about them.
According to The Daily Telegraph, there are hundreds, maybe even thousands of videos that call Muslims to action that still remain on the popular video sharing site.
By doing a search on Google for one of the main videos that was asked to be removed, “44 Ways To Support Jihad”, there are more than 100 results showing from You Tube, and 617,000 results in total. Scary thought isn’t it!
When users try to click on videos that have been deleted, they see instead a message saying that the video was removed because it’s content violated YouTube’s terms of service.
The Terms Of Service (TOS) says that the site “prohibits dangerous or illegal activities such as bomb-making, hate speech or incitement to commit specific and serious acts of violence”.
Various problems remain however, not the least being how to monitor sites like YouTube to prevent illegal videos from being added in the future, and to report those that have been added, so that they can be flagged for removal.
YouTube does in fact allow members to flag videos as inappropriate, however it is relying on it’s members to do this, and with the potential number of illegal videos increasing, the number of people that are required to monitor and action these requests could be required to increase dramatically.
The biggest problem however is the sites that are based outside of the USA or UK, in countries where there are no international laws that can be imposed to help control what is contained on those sites.
At least if the mainstream sites like YouTube agree to monitor their content and to remove illegal videos, then at least this is a start.
The Daily Telegraph