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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.
YouTube and parent company Google’s efforts to crack down on extremist content has resulted in embarrassment after its technology targeted videos from monitors, journalists and Syrian opposition, amongst others.
A number of accounts, such as those of Airwars, Bellingcat, Middle East Eye and Orient News have had videos removed or suspended as a result of past videos deemed ‘extreme’ by YouTube’s machine learning.