YouTube Bans Terrorism Videos; Don't You Feel Much Safer?

from the I-know-I-don't dept

Back in May we wrote about Senator Joseph Lieberman demanding that YouTube remove a bunch of videos of terrorists. At the time, YouTube reviewed the videos in question, and took down the ones that violated the site's terms of service, but left most of them up, noting that the ones they left up did not promote hate speech nor show violence. As we pointed out at the time, trying to ban terrorists from posting videos to YouTube seems incredibly short-sighted. First, it won't work. Those videos will quickly pop back up on other sites that won't take them down. Second, most of those videos are preaching to the choir. It's unlikely that very many people are being recruited to the terrorists' causes by a grainy video on YouTube. Third, letting terrorists post their videos to a mainstream site like YouTube should help authorities figure out who's posting the videos and where they're coming from. Fourth, and most important, one of the key founding principles of this country is the right to free speech, no matter how much one might disagree with that speech. But, part of that principle is that it allows people to respond. So, yes, the videos may be pure propaganda, but there's no reason that people can't respond to the videos and show why they're propaganda and wrong. Confronting your critics is a reasonable stance. Demanding that they cannot speak is not.

Yet, a bunch of folks have been sending in links to a story claiming that Google has now caved to Sen. Lieberman, and will now ban terrorist videos on YouTube. The article says that YouTube's new terms of service will ban footage that "advertises" terrorism or "extremist causes," which seems pretty broad, and certainly open to abuse. The article describes some videos that show how to commit violent acts -- but those were already banned by YouTube, so that's rather misleading. These new terms are more disturbing. It's not going to stop the videos, it's just going to make it harder to keep track of them, harder to counter them -- all while making the terrorists feel more legitimate.

Terrorists should be tracked down and stopped -- absolutely. But we should be dealing with the actual problem of terrorists, not some videos they made.

Filed Under: joseph lieberman, propaganda, terrorism, videos
Companies: google, youtube


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2008 @ 6:14pm

    Yes we have the right to free speech, but as odd as it may sound the consitution does impose a limit on how free - free speech can be. In essense, you have the right to say what you want so long as what you say does not infringe on, impose on, slander or harm (or show the intent) to harm others. its one of those rules that is implied in the language rather than explicitly written. For too long, we in the USA have been misled to believe we actually have totally 100% freedom to say what we want, when we want, where we want and about anything or anyone we want. That is not the case although compared to EVERY other nation on the globe, we are more free to exercise our opinions than the rest. Maybe that's why we have been so misled. Secondly, youtube (Google) being a private company can post or remove anything it sees fit seeing as though once uploaded the content become their property.

    If someone came and posted a sign in my yard, that sign becomes my property and I have the right to take it down regardless of whether the public thought it should stay up.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: I Invented Email
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.