ADL, YouTube launch partnership to fight video abuse

It is not clear what role, if any, the ADL will have in reshaping YouTube policy in this regard.

By MAX SOCOL
December 14, 2008 23:42
1 minute read.
ADL, YouTube launch partnership to fight video abuse

YOUTUBE88. (photo credit: )

The Anti-Defamation League announced Sunday its recent expansion into the world of YouTube, the on-line video-sharing site. The US-based advocacy group has officially partnered with the digital media powerhouse in an effort to combat hate speech and other forms of abuse. As the largest Web-video hub, YouTube relies primarily on its users to hunt down and delete inappropriate content, or to ban abusive members. While the extent of the ADL's role in that process is not yet known, the organization has already made a place for itself in YouTube's new "Abuse and Safety Center," where users are given advice directly from the ADL on how to confront hate speech. But hate speech can be more difficult to codify than pornographic or violent content. Many professional entities, including news organizations and media watchdogs like the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), use YouTube to dump raw footage, some of which prominently depicts hate speech from countries around the world. While these groups use the footage for educational or reporting purposes, much of it is provided on YouTube without explanation. It appears to be an open question whether a video of an Iranian professor proclaiming the cartoon Tom and Jerry a Jewish conspiracy would be subject to removal, though uploaded by an organization like MEMRI. YouTube's community guidelines define hate speech as "content that promotes hatred against members of a protected group" - a religious or ethnic minority, for example - without discussing the question of intent. It is not clear what role, if any, the ADL will have in reshaping YouTube policy in this regard. As of now, the ADL appears merely to be supplementing YouTube's current abuse-protection measures. The present system has had mixed results. In just a short search through the site, The Jerusalem Post found a number of anti-Semitic videos, including the suggestion that kashrut laws were a "Jew excise tax," and claims that a Jewish conspiracy led by former US deputy secretary of state Paul Wolfowitz orchestrated the invasion of Iraq. The ADL could not be reached for comment on the new partnership.


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