Google and YouTube vs. Senator Lieberman


On Monday, Joe Lieberman (I-CT) demanded that Google delete all vids from YouTube associated with Islamic radicals, regardless of content.  Lieberman implied that Google was supporting terrorist causes and assisting in their recruitment efforts.

In his letter addressed to Eric Schmidt, Google Chairman and CEO, Lieberman asked that violent vids be removed per YouTube community guidelines.  But then he expanded his request to include all vids linked to  "designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) by the Department of State."

Lieberman complained that YouTube "guidelines do not prohibit the posting of content that can be readily identified as produced by al-Qaeda or another FTO.  I ask you, therefore, to immediately remove content produced by Islamist terrorist organizations from YouTube."

Google addressed the Lieberman letter on their public policy blog.  The blog stated that Youtube had been cleansed of vids that "depicted gratuitous violence, advocated violence, or used hate speech."

But otherwise the 800 pound gorilla of the Internet snubbed Lieberman.  They firmly denied his request and archly lectured the Senator on the benefits of free speech. 

"Most of the videos, which did not contain violent or hate speech content, were not removed because they do not violate our Community Guidelines," said the blog post.

Google then reinterated their long-standing position against removing vids merely because of the source, and not the content.

Youtube encourages free speech and defends everyone’s right to express unpopular points of view.  We believe that YouTube is a richer and more relevant platform for users precisely because it hosts a diverse range of views, and rather than stifle debate we allow our users to view all acceptable content and make up their own minds. Of course, users are always free to express their disagreement with a particular video on the site, by leaving comments or their own response video. That debate is healthy. the blog post said, and reiterated Google’s stance against removing videos simply because of their source.

ETA:  CNET says the law is not on Lieberman’s side.