YouTube Takes Down European Parliament Video On Stopping Torture For 'Violating Community Guidelines'

from the really-now? dept

Back in 2008, then Senator Joe Lieberman went on a ridiculous pro-censorship campaign, demanding that YouTube take down any “terrorist” videos. For reasons I still don’t understand, YouTube complied. As a result, watchdogs documenting Syrian atrocities had them censored from YouTube, because YouTube determined them to be in “violation” of its guidelines in publishing “shocking and offensive videos.”

That was a few years ago, and it seems like the problem has only gotten worse — as have the ridiculous calls for YouTube and other platforms to be the giant censor in the digital sky. The latest victim? Would you believe it’s the European Parliament itself? Marietje Schaake, a really wonderful Member of the European Parliament (and a Techdirt reader), tweeted that the video she had posted of a European Parliament debate on “anti-torture” was taken down for “violating community guidelines.” Really.

As you can see, her account was assessed a “strike” for posting a video of a European Parliament debate about torture. And it notes that if she receives two more such strikes, she may lose her account. Of course, it’s quite likely that this was some sort of automated system trying to stop videos on “torture” or somesuch, but really, this is the kind of thing that should keep people worried about all these demands to make platforms censors of “terrorism” or other “bad” stuff. You inevitably get these types of errors. And while it’s likely that with enough attention, YouTube will magically reverse its ridiculous position on this video, not everyone is able to get that kind of attention. It makes you wonder what other content is getting blocked because some algorithm, or some clueless individual, can’t be bothered to understand what’s happening.

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Comments on “YouTube Takes Down European Parliament Video On Stopping Torture For 'Violating Community Guidelines'”

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40 Comments
Rekrul says:

People really need to start suing YouTube over these stupid takedowns. The current system where a video is taken down, there’s an outcry, the author argues for why the takedown was invalid, Google relents and puts the video back up and nothing changes, isn’t working.

Google needs to start losing money over this crap. That’s the only thing that will ever convince them to make any changes.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

people making their living on Youtube will fear for their livelyhood. Others don’t have enough of a reason to sue. Remember that ABC is based in LA and the person suing would have to use the DMCA if it is copyright or rely on Googles even more vague terms of service agreement, where they tell you they own your ass and everything you do will be sold.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“People really need to start suing YouTube over these stupid takedowns.”

On which legal grounds?

“Google needs to start losing money over this crap. That’s the only thing that will ever convince them to make any changes.”

Incorrect. They only put this system in place because the MPAA was trying to shut them down and the lack of a takedown system was one of their big arguments. No matter what Google do, the MPAA will still attack them and there’s a danger courts will buy their argument if Google are seen to remove protection measure that previously existed, even if they were not working as intended.

As per usual, it’s the cartels that are the problem here, Google just happen to be the biggest, richest target and take the heat of the many smaller legitimate players who would have little way of defending themselves if Google weren’t taking the hits.

Rekrul says:

Re: Re: Re:

On which legal grounds?

How about on the legal grounds that they’re taking down videos which do not violate community guidelines or that are fair use? That their automated system routinely penalizes innocent users and that any given user’s account is at the mercy of the whims of anyone who wants to file a complaint against it.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“How about on the legal grounds that they’re taking down videos which do not violate community guidelines or that are fair use?”

How is that legal grounds? Community guidelines are up to the service to determine, while fair use is a defense in court against a charge of infringement, not a legal standard alone.

Plus, yet again, ContentID is in place because the cartels demanded it, not because Google just decided to have it at a whim. Even if there are grounds for suing successfully, all you’re going to do is place a barrier to new/better services because you’ve made them liable for any mistakes in a system that’s impossible to be 100% accurate. Google are in a position to absorb thew resulting penalties, their competitors mostly aren’t.

“That their automated system routinely penalizes innocent users and that any given user’s account is at the mercy of the whims of anyone who wants to file a complaint against it.”

Then the fault is those who file false complaints, not the system that’s processing those orders at a rate that would be impossible for human moderators. Again, the problem is that they are being asked to automate what is not possible to accurately automate, so when a legal threat is received they err on the side of caution. Argue that they shouldn’t, but recognise why the problem exists and attack the correct parties at fault rather than the service provider who the cartels would gladly have shut down if they didn’t do this.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

People really need to start suing YouTube over these stupid takedowns.

Or how about moving away from YouTube? archive.org is one alternative–they don’t take down videos like this, they don’t have ContentID, and they don’t track what users view (and fought an NSL and associated gag order).

Rekrul says:

Re: Re: Re:

Or how about moving away from YouTube? archive.org is one alternative–they don’t take down videos like this, they don’t have ContentID, and they don’t track what users view (and fought an NSL and associated gag order).

As much as I respect what Archive.org is trying to do, I find the website itself to be cumbersome and sometimes confusing to navigate compared to YouTube. I’m also not a fan of the endless pages, where you get to the bottom and it just keeps loading more and more results.

John Mayor says:

A GLOBAL INFORMATION/ FREE SPEECH RATING SYSTEM

Again!… and as I’ve stated elsewhere!… it’s not Google’s job (or any search engine’s job!) to “decide” my “search parameters”! Such parameters must be decided by a GLOBAL COALITION OF OUR PRIMARY SECTOR “SECURITY STAKEHOLDERS (i.e., the Business Sector, the NGO+NPO Sector, and the Bureaucratic Sector!)”! The politicians, N-O-T-W-I-T-H-S-T-A-N-D-I-N-G!
.
Please!… no emails!

Graham says:

Freedom of the Press

The big problem here is that the use of platforms (YT, FB, etc) as a source for news is completely destroying the freedom of the press we rely on for our democracy to function.

“The press” are called that because they owned their own printing presses. They could, literally, print ANYTHING they wanted, without having to get permission from anyone else! They would have to suffer the consequences afterwards, of course, but the message would have already got out. Some even ended up dead as a consequence but their contribution has been vital in protecting freedom.

With the use of platforms, the platform owner shares legal responsibility and so is FORCED to censor to protect itself. The press no longer have their own printing presses.

If YouTube and Facebook are being forced apply legal standards, who is going to make available the equivalent of the “Napalm Girl” photo that changes public opinion and ends the next war? The newspaper must be able to take responsiblity and say “this is not child abuse or supporting terror, it is news”.

It is vital for democracy, that platforms are given COMPLETE immunity for publication of content from “the press” (difficult to define who that is, of course, but that is the problem we must solve).

franklin says:

equality

FACEBOOK, TWITTER, YOUTUBE, GOOGLE are PLACES OF PUBLIC GATHERING and ADVERTISE themselves as PUBLIC places..
FACEBOOK is a PUBLIC SPACE therefore it has no right or legal option to censor participants. FACEBOOK is a PUBLICLY TRADED company, NOT a “private entity” and it solicits PUBLIC memberships. Just as cake bakers HAVE to bake homosexual cakes, and wedding planners HAVE to “accept” homosexual weddings, SUCKERberg has to accept opinions, videos, and pictures he does not like.
The same applies to ALL “social media”, YOUTUBE, and search engines.
A lowly COUNTY CLERK was jailed for refusing to “do her duty” by not issuing homosexuals marriage licenses
Or should the Baker, Planner, and Clerk have just said:
“You homosexuals Violate Community Guidelines” !!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: equality

Where do they advertise themselves as public places?

I’ve only ever seen them advertised as widespread social/sharing platforms that are free to use.

Free != public.
Widespread != public.

If a newspaper publishes classifieds and letters to the editor for free on their platform, the broadsheet, does that make their broadsheet a “public place”?

Your desires to have these businesses that provide services to a broad-range of people for free as long as they conform with the terms of service of said business holds no legal, or moral, basis.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: equality

I’ve only ever seen them advertised as widespread social/sharing platforms that are free to use.

Such invitation to the general public makes them public places.

Your desires to have these businesses that provide services to a broad-range of people for free as long as they conform with the terms of service of said business holds no legal, or moral, basis.

Oh, the old “business exemption” claim. Like a “business” has the right to refuse service to any group it so chooses, or to refuse to hire any group it so chooses, or to require those it does hire to provide whatever services it choses to the “boss”. Yeah, I think those kinds of arguments were shot down a long time ago, although some people apparently never got the message.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: equality

“Such invitation to the general public makes them public places.”

No, it makes them private places that welcome the public under certain terms. There’s a big difference.

“Like a “business” has the right to refuse service to any group it so chooses, or to refuse to hire any group it so chooses, or to require those it does hire to provide whatever services it choses to the “boss”.”

Which is true, as long as they don’t exclude people on the basis of a protected class or require services that are illegal. For example, they can refuse to service a group of D&D players or a Klan gathering, but they can’t exclude a group of black people or a specific religious group. You can refuse to bake a cake for people wanting to hold a Star Wars theme wedding, you can’t refuse it for people because they’re having a gay wedding – not if you would offer the same services to a straight couple.

Excluding people from Facebook for being assholes is also still perfectly acceptable.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 equality

Wow, you really haven’t a clue what I was saying. Perhaps instead of thinking about raping babies, you should learn English context and how it works?

You said “a “business” has the right to refuse service to any group it so chooses”. Which is only partially correct, so I clarified it with “as they don’t exclude people on the basis of a protected class”. Both are true to some degree, but my clarification is the correct one – within pre-set parameters, a business can refuse service to anybody it chooses. Since Facebook aren’t refusing service to a protected class on the basis of their membership of that class, they can block or restrict whoever they wish.

This is simple fact, and it’s strange that you don’t understand it. Not as strange as your response, which appears to reveal some disturbing things about how your mind works, but strange nonetheless.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 equality

“No, it makes them private places that welcome the public under certain terms. There’s a big difference.”

http://definitions.uslegal.com/p/public-place/
“A public place is generally an indoor or outdoor area, whether privately or publicly owned, to which the public have access by right or by invitation, expressed or implied, whether by payment of money or not, but not a place when used exclusively by one or more individuals for a private gathering or other personal purpose.”

I realize you may be a great authority and all, but I’m inclined to go with what real legal experts say on legal matters. There’s a big difference.

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