Overhype

by Timothy Geigner


Filed Under:
blame, gangs, knife violence, london, sadiq khan, videos

Companies:
youtube



London Mayor Fingers The Culprit In Increased Knife Crime: YouTube

from the mmm-no dept

With only minimal media fanfare, violent crime is on the rise in London. There have been many explanations on offer for this, ranging from the refugee migrant crisis to drastic cuts to funding for youth services. Specifically noteworthy is the upward trend in knife violence, which, we will note, began before the Middle East refugee crisis, but has accelerated since. Knife attacks have risen not only in what could be called "terrorist" incidents involving Islamic extremists, but also in the more banal gang-related type of incidents as well. As experts search for the real cause and solution to all of this, however, London Mayor Sadiq Khan insists he has found the real enemy in all of this: YouTube.

London mayor Sadiq Khan has criticised Google’s YouTube after it failed to take down four violent gang videos describing killing methods and threatening rivals, which were flagged by police. The videos reportedly show gang members waving a large Rambo-style knife as they attempt to goad rivals. The videos have been watched more than 356,000 times and have not been removed despite YouTube’s terms saying it takes “threats, harassment, intimidation (and) inciting others to commit violent acts” seriously.

“Google, YouTube and other platforms have a responsibility to the millions of young people using their sites every day, and it is vital that they toughen up their guidelines, remove breaches immediately and work with partners to help ensure such horrific videos do not reappear. Lives could depend on it,” said Khan. “Social media and the internet can be used to inflame tensions and escalate violence quicker than ever before, and these videos are a shocking example of the glamorisation of gang culture.”

It will never cease to amaze me how many people can look at a complex social problem with all sorts of subtle causes and influences... only to turn around and find an easy scapegoat in technology. Specifically the internet. London has endured a 24% rise in knife crime and His Honor is going to war with YouTube over four whole videos. In the first link in the introduction above, the New York Times interviews youths now carrying knives, typically found in their kitchen drawers, and provides a fairly good explanation of why these youths are arming themselves in the street. Absent from the prose of that article as any mention of teens slipping blades in their pockets because a YouTube video told them so.

It's also worth noting that these videos make for great evidence for convicting bad actors when they actually do carry out attacks.

Similar violent videos helped convict four men for the murder of 18-year-old Marcel Addai in September 2015, and have been used in other successful prosecutions.

Now, YouTube has reviewed the specific videos in question and has decided to leave them up, while also noting that it is committed to working with police to take down true violent content. The problem in all of this is that there is a fuzzy line drawn between valid expression and an actual threat. If I wanted to, I could twist all kinds of content on YouTube and claim it represented real violent threats, from political expression to drill rap videos that often feature weapons to dramatic expressions. What YouTube typically requires is verified context that a threat made in a video is both specific and real before taking it down. It has deemed these videos not to cross that line.

“We work closely with organisations like the Metropolitan police to understand local context and specifically, so that we can understand where artistic expression escalates into real threats. We’re committed to continuing and improving our work on this issue and making YouTube a hostile space for those who seek to do harm.”

Which is as it should be, no matter the London Mayor that wishes to scapegoat the internet while too many of his own citizens bleed in his own streets.


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 11 Aug 2017 @ 8:24am

    Sue the knife makers, quick! Oh and Google, because why not?

    Ahem. When you work on policies to tackle the symptoms of something rather than the cause.

    "drastic cuts to funding for youth services"

    I've been seeing far too much of this disdain for younger people happening and it's on the rise even if mainstream media doesn't report on it. I was kind of sad of seeing people my age and younger struggling to find a place to call home and suffering with insane rental costs a while back. Then I stumbled upon an article about large protests in Tel-aviv due to real estate speculation and so on. Mostly composed of people in their 30's and below. Different places, same problem. From there I started researching and it's the same everywhere. I consider myself lucky because I have my own place at my age.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Aug 2017 @ 12:08pm

      Re:

      Sue the knife makers, quick!

      The idea of allowing only anti-stab knives has been seriously raised in the past.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        JoeCool (profile), 12 Aug 2017 @ 7:28am

        Re: Re:

        I smell company PR in all this...

        He says a knife can never be totally safe, but the idea is it can't inflict a fatal wound. Nobody could just "grab one out of the kitchen drawer and kill someone".

        Yeaaaaaaah - 'cause I could NEVER use such a knife to SLICE SOMEONE'S THROAT. Morons - think that STABBING is the only way to inflict a lethal wound with a knife when any hunter can tell you it's the exact opposite. Slicing is far more effective at killing then stabbing.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Aug 2017 @ 8:46am

        Re: Re:

        Are your going to ban all screwdrivers and pointed scissors as well, because they make reasonable stabbing instruments?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 12 Aug 2017 @ 2:21pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          > Are your going to ban all screwdrivers and pointed scissors as well, because they make reasonable stabbing instruments?

          Big Sister says you can't be too careful!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Rekrul, 14 Aug 2017 @ 8:00am

        Re: Re:

        The idea of allowing only anti-stab knives has been seriously raised in the past.

        That's a great idea! I mean it's not as if just anyone can make a pointy piece of metal!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michael, 11 Aug 2017 @ 9:41am

    Their knife crime statistics would probably go down if they made handguns more readily available.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 11 Aug 2017 @ 10:02am

      Re:

      By The Right Honourable Mayor's Right Honourable logic, financial crimes and banking fraud would probably go down if Microsoft policed the use of Excel.

      Spreadsheet (v.) The distribution of manure. (n.) A tool widely regarded as the cause of the savings & loan crisis of the 1980's. It allowed users to run "what if" scenarios, but lacked a feature telling "why not".

      • The Computer Contradictionary (1995)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        JoeCool (profile), 11 Aug 2017 @ 10:48am

        Re: Re:

        I do believe he was joking. It's sometimes hard to tell from the real trolling TD gets, but in this case, it's not THAT hard to tell he's being sarcastic. The other statement he could have made was the solution is to ban all knives. :)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      mhajicek (profile), 11 Aug 2017 @ 2:39pm

      Re:

      Conversely, if all knives were miraculously removed from the UK, we'd see a dramatic increase in violent crimes committed with tactical assault rocks.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michael, 11 Aug 2017 @ 10:00am

    The last time a mayor in my city fingered a culprit, the mayor ended up in jail.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Aug 2017 @ 10:11am

    Sorry it's just numbers

    It's true here in Toronto as well many more stabbing, but the reality is people re getting poorer and more stressed and most people don't have guns, but everyone has a knife

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Aug 2017 @ 10:17am

    Why do politicians always go after means and symptoms, rather than actual causes? Is it because their policies are the real causes?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 11 Aug 2017 @ 2:18pm

      Re:

      Because addressing the actual underlying problems takes effort, likely won't have immediate changes(or might fail entirely) and might not be as popular with some people, whereas picking a random scapegoat is quick, easy, and allows for risk-free PR.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Aug 2017 @ 10:47am

    Real cause of increased knife crime...

    shortage of guns.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Aug 2017 @ 10:48am

    Politics (and by proxy, politicians) makes me more irrationally angry than any other thing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    JoeCool (profile), 11 Aug 2017 @ 10:52am

    The real cause

    The real cause of the increase in violence is Europe's ongoing crusade against porn. Europe used to be the Land of Porn, dreamed of far and wide by American boys, just waiting for when they graduated high school and took a year off in Europe before going to college. The Land of Porn and DRUGS! Unfortunately, Europe has turned Nanny State over the last couple decades, and now rivals such mega-prudes as the US in cracking down on sex and drugs. As a result, they're finally starting to get US levels of violence to fill the gap that drugs and sex kept plugged.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 11 Aug 2017 @ 10:57am

    The Real Problem

    Methinks London mayor Sadiq Khan has watched too much YouTube and has been overly influenced by that venue. The fact that he believes everything he finds on the Internet indicates a serious question about his ability to hold his office.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Aug 2017 @ 11:12am

    Techdirt again PROMOTING violent video. -- WHY NOT take them down?

    Do you have some stake in keeping them up? Is this the kind of "free speech" you want more of, while want to block conservatives from college venues?

    Doesn't matter even if would be ineffective, when it's OBVIOUS that leaving them up is bad all round.

    You're not even arguing here, just attacking a logical moral position for it being logical and moral!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Aug 2017 @ 11:26am

      Re: Techdirt again PROMOTING violent video. -- WHY NOT take them down?

      This is because techdirt is well known shill for big knife all they do all day is stab, stab , stab the message of big knife forcing good, christian women everywhere to take there stabbing several times a day, they are like black men all they do is stab, again and again and again and ohhhhohhhhhh.,

      whew that was .... thanks techdirt ... what was I talking about again?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 11 Aug 2017 @ 11:27am

      Re: Techdirt again PROMOTING violent video. -- WHY NOT take them down?

      ...while want to block conservatives from college venues?

      Citation?

      And even if your claim were true - as opposed to twisting the facts all to hell to pretend it's true - it would still not apply. Supporting a private venue when they say "we don't want to be associated with this" is NOT the same as a government official placing demands on who a private venue associates with.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Aug 2017 @ 1:09pm

      Re: Techdirt again PROMOTING violent video. -- WHY NOT take them down?

      Why do you abuse the English language so?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      orbitalinsertion (profile), 12 Aug 2017 @ 7:58am

      Re: Techdirt again PROMOTING violent video. -- WHY NOT take them down?

      Is it a violent video?

      Let's take down all the martial arts demos, and people blasting streams with a shotgun to make rainbows.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 11 Aug 2017 @ 12:13pm

    Considerations..

    BACKPAGE..

    There is a concept with Justice in that you USE what is available to prosecute someone..

    IF they are STUPID ENOUGH to place on Youtube/Facebook/ANYPLACE ON THE NET...
    They are Publishing for the public to SEE how much of an IDIOT they are.
    How many STOPPED Posting on FB that "we are going on vacation from ?? to ??"
    Go AHEAD publish your OWN Promise/Affidavit on YOUTUBE that you are going to KILL ?? PERSON..
    HE DIES..
    AND YOU ARE THE FIRST SUSPECT..and probably the ONLY suspect.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Aug 2017 @ 1:53pm

    on par with the rest of the big name fucking idiots in the UK all of them full of wind and piss not having a single clue between them, let alone individually as to admitting what the real problem is, the way the government has totally screwed the country in favor of the rich and famous, allowing them to do, to say whatever they want and get away, almost, with murder (in the literary sense)!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 11 Aug 2017 @ 7:25pm

    Everyone gets a ribbon.
    No one should feel bad.
    We shouldn't keep score.
    McDonalds made my kids fat.
    There should be a law banning colorful soaps.
    There should be a law banning texting for kids, but not me.

    We are supposed to be adults, so let me lay out some truth.
    We as society are responsible.
    We as society refused to accept ANY responsibility for our failures.
    We as a society expect those with deeper pockets to do the hard work for us or at least pay for it.

    YT didn't give the kid the knife.
    YT didn't teach the kid this is how you deal with being slighted.
    YT didn't take the kids to a football game & let him watch the adults beating the hell out of each other over a sports team.
    YT didn't teach the kids that its perfectly okay to get shitfaced drunk and beat your wife.
    YT didn't teach the kids that those in council houses aren't deserving of basic protections.
    YT didn't turn London into a ghost town of empty expensive homes while demanding the poor pay for it all.
    YT didn't give them leadership that take public funds for raising fucking swans while cancer patients are being denied medical care or benefits because they were forced to choose between the chemo appointment they waited a year for or showing up to answer invasive questions from civil servants who need the tiniest reason to cut the benefits and earn a bonus for doing so.

    We fucked up society & we put more effort into assigning blame than dealing with the real problems.

    It would be refreshing if some offical admitted the unpopular truth, it is all of our faults & we need to accept it. No 3rd party is gonna fix it, we need to be our own heroes & save ourselves.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Aug 2017 @ 9:43pm

    London had a hard time fingering Jack the Ripper too a long long time ago. Maybe his spirit still lingers in the streets and alleys of that old town today..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Cutlery Control Required, 11 Aug 2017 @ 11:18pm

    Knives don't stab people... people with knives stab people.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    GristleMissile (profile), 13 Aug 2017 @ 9:55am

    Good ol' Sadiq "terrorism is part and parcel of living in a big city" Khan.

    He's not as entertaining as Rob Ford was, but when you have a burning desire to watch a dumpster fire of a mayor, he'll do.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 14 Aug 2017 @ 1:27am

      Re:

      "Good ol' Sadiq "terrorism is part and parcel of living in a big city" Khan."

      Well, for all the whining, nobody's ever proven what he actually said to be false.

      Yes, living in a big city increases the chances of being the target of terrorism, especially a major capital city. That doesn't mean do nothing about it, it just means that you will always be target - it was the same in Fawkes' time, it was the same when the IRA targeted the city, it's the same now. Why this simple truth has proven so controversial to some is beyond me.

      It's sad really, given that the people who attack him tend to be the people who wholeheartedly support the actual dumpster fire that is Brexit, but I suppose you have to take your perceived wins where you can, even if they're false.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Dingledore the Mildly Uncomfortable When Seated, 14 Aug 2017 @ 5:21am

      Re:

      He actually said...

      “Part and parcel of living in a great global city is you’ve got to be prepared for these things, you’ve got to be vigilant, you’ve got to support the police doing an incredibly hard job. We must never accept terrorists being successful, we must never accept that terrorists can destroy our life or destroy the way we lead our lives.”

      You thing he's wrong?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 14 Aug 2017 @ 5:42am

        Re: Re:

        Exactly, the comment isn't wrong in any way, and if you read the whole thing there's really nothing controversial in there. Like the "you didn't build that" or "we have to pass it before we can know what's in it" comments that the last US administration got attacked for, what's being said is fine. It's basic common sense until people start putting soundbites out of context and pretending they mean something that was never intended.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dingledore the Mildly Uncomfortable When Seated, 14 Aug 2017 @ 5:18am

    Are you reading a different article?

    I can't see anywhere in the article where Khan attributes the increases in knife crime to Youtube.

    The article is about specific instances of gang related videos staying up...

    “Social media and the internet can be used to inflame tensions and escalate violence quicker than ever before, and these videos are a shocking example of the glamorisation of gang culture.”

    He's not wrong about that.

    But where in the article does he conflate that gangs threatening each other with the overall increases in knife (and gun) crime? He doesn't appear to do it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 14 Aug 2017 @ 5:38am

      Re: Are you reading a different article?

      "I can't see anywhere in the article where Khan attributes the increases in knife crime to Youtube."

      From the Guardian article:

      "Google, YouTube and other platforms have a responsibility to the millions of young people using their sites every day, and it is vital that they toughen up their guidelines, remove breaches immediately and work with partners to help ensure such horrific videos do not reappear. Lives could depend on it"

      It's hard to see where the "lives could depend on it" comes from if he's not directly tying attacks to the videos, and thus by extension the hosts. He's also specifically naming Google/YouTube in the comment, so he is singling them out even if he does addd the "and other platforms" after he named them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Dingledore the Mildly Uncomfortable When Seated, 14 Aug 2017 @ 9:53am

        Re: Re: Are you reading a different article?

        I'm not saying that he's not suggesting that that crime's have been committed due to gang related online postings. Whether they have or haven't, I don't know - but it wouldn't surprise me.

        What I'm questioning is whether those statements can be read as him blaming the rise in knife crime as a whole on those videos. "Mayor believes inaction by Youtube contributes to some knife crimes" <> "Mayor believes Youtube is responsible for increases in knife crimes".

        If he'd said "silent, electric cars can be a problem because pedestrians don't hear them" it wouldn't be valid to claim he'd said "electric cars are responsible for increases in road fatalities". (Though this was an actual argument made a few years back).

        It just smacks of dicto simpliciter (if that's the fallacy where a generalisation is inferred from a specific).

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 15 Aug 2017 @ 12:09am

          Re: Re: Re: Are you reading a different article?

          "What I'm questioning is whether those statements can be read as him blaming the rise in knife crime as a whole on those videos"

          As a whole? Maybe note. But, he literally says:

          "remove breaches immediately and work with partners to help ensure such horrific videos do not reappear. Lives could depend on it"

          He's at least holding them partially responsible.

          "If he'd said "silent, electric cars can be a problem because pedestrians don't hear them" it wouldn't be valid to claim he'd said "electric cars are responsible for increases in road fatalities"."

          True. But, in this case, he's saying "electric car manufacturers need to make cars noisier, lives could depend on it". Nobody's re-interpreting what he's saying, as the the "part and parcel" argument, they're looking at his actual words. Whether you believe he's saying "all" or "some", he's holding YouTube responsible for knife crime.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

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.