YouTube is scolded by Sen. Lieberman

Sunday, September 14, 2008

By: Katie Anthony

As a frequent YouTube user, this article really took me by shock. Sen. Lieberman (I-Conn.) made a point to YouTube saying that YouTube was too "too open to terrorist groups disseminating militant propaganda."

Lieberman specified his accusation by providing examples of videos that were actually marked with logos of the al-Qaeda along with other groups that work in conjunction with the al-Qaeda. However, to my complete shock, the company refused to remove these videos because they, "did not violate the Web site's guidelines against graphic violence or hate speech. "

In my opinion, when I think "al-Qaeda," I have a tendency to picture graphic violence given the circumstances on which Americans think of the al-Qaeda. Then again, that's just my opinion.

"YouTube was being used by Islamist terrorist organizations to recruit and train followers via the Internet and to incite terrorist attacks around the world, including right here in the United States," Lieberman said in a statement. "I expect these stronger community guidelines to decrease the number of videos on YouTube produced by al-Qaeda and affiliated Islamist terrorist organizations."

YouTube heavily relies on what's referred to as "community guidelines." Which, is just a fancy way of saying that they rely on the viewers to flag videos that the viewer deems as "inappropriate." That puts a large amount of faith in the "community" of YouTube.

Lieberman even took it a step further and wrote a letter to the official of Google (for those of you who don't know, Google owns YouTube) which resulted in a few of the videos being removed. Regretfully, however, the vast majority of the videos that Lieberman pointed out were not removed.

How does YouTube defend itself? By stating that, "while we respect and understand his[Lieberman's] views, YouTube encourages free speech and defends everyones right to express unpopular points of view."

I'm all for free speech and the right to express, but honestly, is the United States going to be at a higher risk for terrorist attacks due to YouTube?


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