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Lieberman vs. YouTube Over Terrorism

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Senator Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) believes the latest safe harbor for terrorisms is…YouTube. The senator fired off a letter (and a press release) to Google CEO Eric Schmidt calling on YouTube to pull all content produced by terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda. From his letter:

In other words, Islamist terrorist organizations use YouTube to disseminate their propaganda, enlist followers, and provide weapons training – activities that are all essential to terrorist activity. According to testimony received by our Committee, the online content produced by al-Qaeda and other Islamist terrorist organizations can play a significant role in the process of radicalization, the end point of which is the planning and execution of a terrorist attack. YouTube also, unwittingly, permits Islamist terrorist groups to maintain an active, pervasive, and amplified voice, despite military setbacks or successful operations by the law enforcement and intelligence communities.

YouTube was quick to respond on its blog and said after looking at videos identified by Sen. Lieberman’s staff, a “number” of videos were removed, but mainly because they depicted “gratuitous violence, advocated violence, or used hate speech.” Most the videos, which did not meet these criteria, were not removed as they didn’t violate Google’s community guidelines. From YouTube’s response:

While we respect and understand [Lieberman’s] views, YouTube encourages free speech and defends everyone’s right to express unpopular points of view. We believe that YouTube is a richer and more relevant platform for users precisely because it hosts a diverse range of views, and rather than stifle debate we allow our users to view all acceptable content and make up their own minds. Of course, users are always free to express their disagreement with a particular video on the site, by leaving comments or their own response video. That debate is healthy.

This isn’t the first time YouTube has been at the center of the violence vs. free speech debate. YouTube Co-founder Steve Chen said earlier this year that while violent videos are the site are bad, he prefers to let the community police itself. And more recently, the New York state senate introduced legislation that would make it a felony to commit violence for display on Internet sites.

15 Responses to “Lieberman vs. YouTube Over Terrorism”

  1. 911 was an inside job. Rogue elements of the U.S government arranged for 911 so that the U.S. could invade the Middle East. 911 is a half-baked farce and it screams for a new investigation and prison time / death sentences for those involved – mostly U.S. / CIA operatives.

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  3. Patriot

    Maybe if the US did not stick its nose in other countries business on a continual basis there would not be as much hatred for us. Google did the right thing and let the videos stay up. People will draw their own conclusions. As if a youtube video is gonna spark a huge outpouring for people who strap bombs to themselves and blow crap up and ending their own lives. US Politicians are such hypocrites. Lets interfere with other countries affairs, tell them how to live, and shove freedom down their throats. Then when we get blowback take some more liberties away from people.

  4. Jenkins –

    Bottom line, anything that provides a platform for enhancing terrorism needs to be regulated. That is the first thing you need to focus on in this post.

    Secondly, do you know Joe Lieberman personally? Do you know for a fact that he cares for Israel as much as America? Please tell us that you just didn’t generalize the whole Jewish community by your post.

  5. jenkins

    Although senator Lieberman won’t ever admit this — he goes out of his way to avoid this specific topic — he cares as much for Israel as he does for America. The thing I dislike the most about this is his cleverness around avoiding the topic.