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Google blocks YouTube anti-Muslim movie trailer in Egypt, Libya, India, Indonesia & Afghanistan amid criticism of censorship

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18 September 2012

When Censorship Makes Sense: How YouTube Should Police Hate Speech

Author: Tim Wu, professor at Columbia Law School, in New Republic [USA]

Late last week, Google yanked “The Innocence of Muslims,” from YouTube [part of Google] in Egypt, Libya and some other Muslim nations. By that point,...[four] Americans were already dead in Libya, while riots raged across the Middle East...Should Google pull videos from YouTube just because they make people angry and violent? Google was, in my view, right to suspend the video...A special team within Google, after a video is flagged, decides whether its content guidelines have been violated...A better course would be to try to create a process that relies on a community [forum], either of regional experts or the serious users of YouTube...[which] would aim for a rough consensus. Such a system would be an early-warning signal that might have prevented riots in the first place...It might get messy at times, but..., at some level, Google is trying to create a free speech jurisprudence, a project that the [US] Supreme Court spent much of the 20th century working on. And that’s not easy, even for Google.

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16 September 2012

[video] Anti-Islam video stirs censorship debate

Author: Tom Ackerman, Al Jazeera

Google says it will not restrict worldwide access to an anti-Islam video, despite a request from the White House to do so. The video, which denigrates Prophet Muhammed, sparked a firestorm of protest around the world. Google has, however, blocked the clip in certain countries.

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15 September 2012

Google’s restricting of anti-Muslim video shows role of Web firms as free-speech arbiters

Author: Craig Timberg, Washington Post

Google lists eight reasons on its “YouTube Community Guidelines” page for why it might take down a video. Inciting riots is not among them. But after the White House warned...that a crude anti-Muslim movie trailer had sparked lethal violence in the Middle East, Google acted. Legal experts and civil libertarians, meanwhile, said the controversy highlighted how Internet companies, most based in the United States, have become global arbiters of free speech, weighing complex issues that traditionally are the province of courts, judges, and occasionally, international treaty...Google said it decided to block the video in Egypt and Libya because of the “very sensitive situations there” and not because the White House requested it...For critics, the decision recalled Google’s former compliance with Chinese government restrictions on a wide range of content...[also refers to Facebook, Twitter]

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