Leiberman Requests Google Remove Terrorist Videos from YouTube

By May 23, 2008

The one-time vice presidential candidate is urging Google to take down videos posted by Islamist terrorist organizations that show violence and spread propaganda. Earlier this week, Connecticut Senator Lieberman sent a letter t

o Google CEO Eric Schmidt asking that Google "immediately remove content produced by Islamist terrorist organizations from YouTube."

In the letter, Lieberman states the videos, many of which are produced by an al Qaeda production arm, violate YouTube’s community guidelines because they depict “graphic or gratuitous violence” by showing American soldiers being injured, if not killed.

Furthermore, Lieberman suggests YouTube "implement its own policy against this offensive material," which he calls propaganda to “enlist followers, and provide weapons training,” and prevent it from reappearing on the popular video-sharing website.

Lieberman is also the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and his appeal follows the committee staff report on terrorist Internet activity published earlier this month.

The YouTube team replied in a blog post, saying "In response to his (Lieberman) concerns, we examined and ended up removing a number of videos from the site, primarily because they depicted gratuitous violence, advocated violence, or used hate speech."

Still, "While we respect and understand his views, YouTube encourages free speech and defends everyone's right to express unpopular points of view."

YouTube is said to have removed 80 videos from its site due to the display of violence which it agrees violates the community terms; however, it disagreed with Leiberman’s request to pull all content produced by Islamist terrorist organizations.

“We believe that YouTube is a richer and more relevant platform for users precisely because it hosts a diverse range of views,” the site said, “and rather than stifle debate we allow our users to view all acceptable content and make up their own minds.”

By Kathleen Clark

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