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08/03/2007

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paperwight

GooTube is a commercial entity. We don't demand patriotism of any of our other commercial entities (offshoring, tax dodges, etc.). Why should we demand patriotism of them in this instance? They're not selling forbidden munitions to people on the ITAR no-go list.

Also, where does this rule stop? Tamil Tigers -- yes or no? Chechens -- yes or no? IDF -- yes or no? Blackwater -- yes or no?

Rickbert

Thanks for noticing the YouTube Smackdown. I'd like to address a few of the points you made, some of which are addressed more fully on our site, but I'll try and summarize.

First, paperwight, YouTube is a company, and their 'customers' are free to hold them to whatever standards they wish. But we aren't asking YouTube to post only the videos we like. We're asking them to enforce their own policies. They claim they don't allow these kinds of videos on their Community Guidelines. You can read the editors' blog over at YouTube, and they're all about being 'nice' and how bad 'hate speech' is, more like a PC university campus than a libertarian free speech absolutist.

They don't host porn because they want to maintain a 'nice' image. They have removed videos of a squirrel dodging a rock (no squirrels were actually harmed in the making of that video) on grounds of animal abuse. Operation YouTube Smackdown is asking for consistency in applying the very standards they so proudly trumpet when they want to garner good press. If hypocrisy is the last public sin, they're guilty of at least that.

Turning to the main post, in a similar vein, we aren't asking the government to censor anything. Nobody's first amendment rights would be violated if YouTube decides they won't host jihadi videos any more than because they decide not to host porn videos. But YouTube is willing to delete videos for 'hate speech' which the government cannot, in any case, do. YouTube chooses what to allow on their site, using legalese to avoid responsibility for what people upload, on the grounds they remove videos that violate their terms of use.

MEMRI estimages as much as 80% of internet jihad sites are hosted in the same countries the jihadists have declared war on. Why should a private company bother to help them spread their messages calling for death and slaughter, when they spend so much of their time deleting videos because they might hurt someone's feelings? A recent article in the Weekly Standard details some other points worth checking out.

Where does it stop? I'm just a little more worried that we don't seem to mind how far it goes. Nobody is trying to stop people from advocating for a cause. But if you head over to our site, can view the Daily Dozen videos we post and then convince me those videos are posted solely to further dispassionate debate, I'll consider resigning from the effort. Good luck.

YouTube presents itself as a happy fun do-it-yourself celebration of technology and the individual. I'm not clear how that requires them to host videos by people who would deny everyone the right to do the same anywhere they come into power.

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