The Wall Street Journal has uncovered details about a small group of roughly 200 people and organisations the ability to flag large numbers of Youtube videos for review. Unlike regular users who are only able to flag video on an individual basis, this group is about to do the same to 20 videos at once. The main concern raised by the programme is that it includes the UK’s Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit.
Commenters were initially concerned with government censorship, as the British Parliament has already implemented porn filters at an ISP level, and is debating introducing the same controls on content it considers extremist. There were also worries about other governments also using the program to censor unwanted videos.
News of a police unit flagging Youtube content it deems extremists has prompted Google to clarify the matter. There are currently fewer than 10 participants of the programme who are connected to any government, and most are private individuals who have spent a lot of time flagging videos that may violate Youtube’s community guidelines. Google still maintains the final say in which videos are removed.
[source: Wall Street Journal]