Google and Facebook continue to fail at blocking what society considers abusive. It may not be possible to do so without a truly massive team examining videos. Despite the German government threatening $millions/day in fines, government pressure everywhere, advertisers fleeing and thousands hired, the control systems are failing.
Alexi Mostrous, Head of Investigations at Murdoch’s Times of London, just before yearend reports, “Child predators are using YouTube as a ‘shop window’ to showcase abused children before exchanging explicit footage and images with paedophiles around the world. One Brazilian paedophile posted a dozen videos of young girls to YouTube this month. Most were ten seconds long and showed the children standing silently, licking their lips or dancing. One showed a masked child aged about ten saying: “Hey guys I got new underwear.”
Each video was emblazoned with the paedophile’s email address. When an undercover reporter made contact, the man boasted he had 315 gigabytes of material showing ‘naked’ children.
Another alleged child abuser, calling himself Horny Pastor, was allowed to create a YouTube channel despite having a username that had been flagged to US and Canadian child-abuse authorities. He posted five videos including one called ’12 yr old Nancy twerking in grey outfit.’ In his profile section he invited viewers to swap explicit content on Telegram, the encrypted chat application.”
Mostrous added Youtube “listed the first paedophile’s YouTube page in its ‘recommended channels’ section.” He quotes Adrian Waterman, QC, that if YouTube could be shown to have “done an act which encouraged or assisted the possession or showing of indecent images, that might amount to a criminal offence.”
Yvette Cooper, chairwoman of the home affairs select committee, writes, “I find it beyond belief that this disgusting and illegal material is still being posted on YouTube. It calls into question Google’s fitness for purpose and capability to keep its platform free from illegal material.”
I believe those expecting a technical fix for problems like this have been disappointed. It appears any even modestly effective algorithm will exclude massive amounts of acceptable material. Google’s recent changes have clobbered respected progressive publications in the U.S.
Almost inevitably, under threat of large fines or other sanctions, the Googles of the world will over-censor. Without simple, clear rules about what is permitted, any corporation will bend over backward to avoid fines.
Apolitical religious sermons have been taken down because other actions drew condemnation. A statement like this probably would fall under the rubric of “inciting terrorism” as defined by the German and British government.
“For 100 years, British and American forces have killed tens of thousands, starting with the British conquest of Iraq. The CIA overthrew the Democratic government of Iran in 1953. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died, many of starvation and malnutrition, during the American embargo of Iraq, justified by claims of “weapons of mass destruction’ that were never found.’
500,000 Syrians have died in a civil war that would not have occurred without the active support of the Americans and their Saudi allies. Totalitarian regimes, such as Mubarak in Egypt, were supported by $billions from the Americans. Over a million have suffered from cholera this year in Yemen, due to a blockade by the Saudis supported by a $100B arms deal negotiated directly by Trump’s regime.
Wedding parties have been bombed, confused with “terrorists.” Drones are killing both targets and bystanders on the flimsiest of evidence, some surely wrong. Discrimination against Muslims in the U.S. is undeniable. In England, it’s so common “Paki-bashing” is now part of the language.”
All of which is well-supported and true as far as I know. If I added, as I believe, the net result has merely been the replacement of one group of corrupt, violent thugs with another group of corrupt, violent thugs approved by the Americans, as in Afganistan and Iraq, is that supporting terrorism?
What if I said it is the patriotic duty of all to actively expel the Americans? That’s a reasonable statement clearly supported by the U.S. Constitution. (I don’t know if I agree.)
Google, under threats of $500M in German fines, would probably censor that algorithmically. They be fools to take the risk; Google’s top management are not fools.
There’s no easy answer to censoring clearly illegal content, like child pornography, without also censoring clearly legal speech, like the famous Vietnam photo of a napalmed young girl.