Turns Out UK Government Only Wishes It Had Special Powers To Censor YouTube
from the not-quite-the-full-story dept
After digging deeper into this issue, it appears that the Financial Times report greatly exaggerated the facts, and while it appears that the UK government still wishes it had the power to censor perfectly legal videos, YouTube is not, in fact, aiding in this process. While anyone can flag lots of videos, YouTube has a “trusted flagger program” which gives those who are flagging many videos — and those who have a good track record of actually flagging videos that violate YouTube’s terms of service — the ability to flag more videos quickly. It also seems likely (though unconfirmed) that the YouTube policy team that reviews the flags will more quickly review (or take more seriously) flags that come from those “trusted flaggers.” However, it’s really not all that different than YouTube’s regular flagging, and as such won’t allow the easy censorship of legitimate content.
The FT’s report on “special powers” and claims that such flags would be “instantly reviewed,” combined with direct claims from a government official, James Brokenshire, about how content “that may not be illegal, but certainly is unsavoury” needs to be dealt with, because it “may not be the sort of material people would want to see or receive” is still worrisome from the position of what the UK government thinks it should be doing online. But it appears that the idea that YouTube is giving the UK government “special” powers to carry out that task is not accurate.
It is still deeply concerning that the UK government seems to think that it has a role in being the nanny on the internet over what legal videos the public can and cannot watch, but YouTube has long been a supporter of free speech — even on controversial videos — as seen by the company’s support for keeping controversial videos like Innocence of Muslims online (until recently forced by a court to censor it).