YouTube ‘too slow’ on hate videos

By Peter Kohn in the Australian Jewish News

ajn_eTHE Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) has contacted YouTube after the online broadcaster allowed posts of material relating to Australian Holocaust denier Fredrick Toben.

ECAJ executive director Peter Wertheim told The AJN that after the national roof body complained to YouTube last month, three specific videos were pulled. “But the same content remains online on YouTube, either in its original form or with a warning preceding it. If YouTube doesn’t act on it, we will.”

One of the posts seen by The AJN this week features death camp footage and is titled “Six Million? The Persecution of Fredrick Toben”, which compares the veracity of the Holocaust to “the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and the tooth fairy”. It carries a warning that it has been “identified by the YouTube community as being potentially offensive or inappropriate. Viewer discretion is advised”. However, there is an option for viewers to prevent that notice from reappearing on their next viewing.

In a related development, a copy of Toben’s material featured among more than 1700 videos removed from YouTube after the Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI) contacted the broadcaster and released a wide-ranging report on internet abuse by hatemongers.

The OHPI report, documenting serious racial hate activity in cyberspace, noted how one user in a single day uploaded 1710 videos, “the vast majority of which were blatant hate speech”, said the organisation’s CEO, Dr Andre Oboler.

He was heartened by YouTube’s response – it closed the user’s accounts within 24 hours of receiving an advance copy of OHPI’s report – but he was discouraged that YouTube had not responded to a flood of viewers flagging the material as “racist”.

Dr Oboler told The AJN: “If it takes YouTube over a month to spot such a user, yet the user is able to upload over a thousand hateful videos a day, inevitably YouTube will be unable to keep pace with the spread of hate. OHPI is working on ways to improve the processes, technology and systems so that the mass spread of hate can be better prevented.”

A Google Inc spokesperson in the US told The AJN that YouTube’s community guidelines prohibit hate speech. “We routinely remove comments and videos flagged by our users under those guidelines and terminate the accounts of users who repeatedly break the rules.”

Source: Peter Kohn, “YouTube ‘too slow’ on hate videos”, Australian Jewish News, 14 August 2012