Once again, YouTube has come under fire in the U.K. for videos espousing violence.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan called upon the world’s largest video platform to remove four clips that instruct viewers how to kill rival gang members using “Rambo” knives. The videos were flagged by police, according to The Guardian, and Khan stated that “YouTube and other platforms have a responsibility to the millions of young people using their sites every day, and it is vital that they toughen up their guidelines.” He also called the availability of the videos a matter of life and death.
YouTube, for its part, has apparently not yet found the videos — which have been watched upwards of 356,000 times, according to The Guardian — in violation of its terms of service.
“We strictly prohibit videos that are abusive or that promote violence,” a rep from the company told The Guardian. “We work closely with organizations like the Metropolitan police to understand local context and specifically, so that we can understand where artistic expression escalates into real threats. We’re committed to continuing and improving our work on this issue and making YouTube a hostile space for those who seek to do harm.”
An ad boycott that kicked off in the U.K. last March has forced YouTube to tighten the reins on the types of videos that appear on the platform — from both a business and ethical perspective. In recent weeks, YouTube has announced several initiatives to clamp down on videos promoting terrorism, including employing technology that redirects searches for hateful content, and a new “limited state” for videos that have been flagged for expressing supremacist ideology but that don’t necessarily violate the site’s community guidelines.