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(Updated) - YouTube is Now Purging Evidence of War Crimes—Labeling it as “Extremist” Content


YouTube is Now Purging Evidence of War Crimes—Labeling it as “Extremist” Content (Updated)


Editor’s Note: Middle East Eye is now reporting that YouTube has issued an apology for removing some of the videos and has restored many of those that had been deleted. According to MEE:

“With the massive volume of videos on our site, sometimes we make the wrong call. When it’s brought to our attention that a video or channel has been removed mistakenly, we act quickly to reinstate it.”

YouTube told MEE in an email last week that the video “Drone footage by Islamic State shows suicide car attacks on Iraqi ... was removed and that YouTube had “assigned a community guidelines strike, or temporary penalty” to MEE’s account.

This video has since been restored.

YouTube placed the blame primarily on its computer algorithms for the deletions, but did add that final review is done by “trained policy specialists”:

In response to the deletions, YouTube told MEE by phone that while it could not comment on individual cases, it was not aware that “any particular type of content was being flagged over another”.

“Previously we used to rely on humans to flag content, now we’re using machine learning to flag content which goes through to a team of trained policy specialists all around the world which will then make decisions,” a spokeswoman said.

“So it’s not that machines are striking videos, it’s that we are using machine learning to flag the content which then goes through to humans.”

Source: Middle East Eye


By Rachel Blevins

Just one month after YouTube deleted a video of the United States air-dropping weapons to ISIS and claimed that it contained “violent or graphic content,” the video platform is now being criticized for implementing a new artificial intelligence program to monitor “extremist” content that is deleting videos that document U.S. war crimes.

The monitoring organization Airwars.org recently reported that its YouTube account had been targeted, just one week after YouTube published a new blog post announcing that it is “developing and implementing cutting-edge machine learning technology designed to help us identify and remove violent extremism and terrorism-related content in a scalable way.”

Airwars raised the issue on Twitter, noting that after approving hundreds of their videos documenting U.S. airstrikes, YouTube has suddenly blocked three videos out of nowhere.  The newly blocked videos showed U.S. coalition airstrikes that were reportedly targeting ISIS, and their dates ranged from August 2015 to March 2016.

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