Videos about fluffy dogs should stay

This is surely the right decision by YouTube:

Video sharing website YouTube is refusing to filter out threatening material, despite calls for more restrictions in the wake of the school shooting in Finland.

Pekka-Eric Auvinen, 18, used YouTube to publicise his plans to attack his high school in Tuusula, hours before he killed eight people then shot himself. But Peter Fleischer, privacy counsel at Google, which bought YouTube last year, said the website was not considering passing more information to the police to avert such events. “Logistically we couldn’t do pre-screening,” he said. “We don’t want to become censors of the web.”

Vetting every video on the site would prove a technical challenge, with more than seven hours of footage uploaded to YouTube every minute.

Vetting videos requires a policy and human being to determine what is “offensive” or “problematic”. I’m not sure I have faith in any company making that decision. Of course, free speech is never absolute and YouTube removes allegedly troublesome films every day but it will inevitably not be perfect.

Surely we believe in the anarchic power of the internet?

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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