REPORT: YouTube Allows Islamic State Videos to Remain Online for Days, Sometimes Weeks

According to a recent report from Motherboard that analyzed over 150 videos shared among pro-ISIS groups, YouTube continues to fail at properly policing extremist content.

The report looked at “164 unique YouTube URLs which were shared in pro-Islamic State media channels,” as well as a number of other relevant factors for the study, such as video content and how long it took for YouTube to take down the clips.

Motherboard’s analysis found the following:

  • A video including an alleged audio message from an Islamic State spokesperson calling for attacks during Ramadan is still online, a week after being uploaded.
  • Several battlefield and street battle clips branded by the Islamic State’s de facto news agency Amaq are still online, two weeks after being uploaded.
  • A gruesome video of the Tehran attack remained on YouTube for nine days.

The amount of time this content remains online matters and the amount of eyes it reaches very much matters. The people who are seeking out this content are already curious and perhaps interested in joining the fight. The impact of these videos is similar to the impact of an explosive because each video can produce a new extremist, or a new sympathizer. To the ignorant, the mysterious and foreign is often taken as misunderstood and misrepresented, making it attractive.


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