YouTube to Users: Flag Videos Backing Terror

Facing government pressure, site says it can't screen everything
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 13, 2010 7:46 AM CST
Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., right, accompanied by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010.   (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)
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(Newser) – Under government pressure to remove videos that promote terrorism, YouTube is calling on users to decide what fits the bill, the Los Angeles Times reports. Officials like Sen. Joe Lieberman have urged the site to remove such material, but YouTube, concerned about protecting First Amendment rights, has refused to screen videos before they’re posted. Instead, users will now be able to flag videos for staff review by selecting "promotes terrorism" from a list of reasons—joining others like "nudity" and "animal abuse."

Lieberman called the move a “good first step toward scrubbing mainstream Internet sites of terrorist propaganda,” but noted that “it shouldn't take a letter from Congress—or in the worst possible case, a successful terrorist attack—for YouTube to do the right thing.” One law professor calls the new category "potentially troubling," saying "promotes terrorism" is a more subjective phrase than the language currently contained in YouTube's guidelines, which specifically bar videos that incite viewers to commit violence.

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