A new tool has been unveiled in the war against terrorism. This time it is not a precision rocket that can chase Osama Bin Laden down whichever mountainous bolt-hole he is currently residing in.
Nor is it a high-tech perving device that will keep our skies safe as well as keeping customs service official across the world amused during their shifts.
It appears that an answer has finally been found that will truly, once and for all, rid the world of the blight of terrorism that has given people licence to act a little crazy over the past few years, all in the press of a button.
This is because, at the behest of the likes of Senator Joe Lieberman, Youtube has installed a flagging system which will allow users to report a video that they believe supports terrorism in some shape or form, finally fixing that one last chink in Western civilisation’s armour.
Lieberman has apparently been on Youtube’s case for a couple of years, demanding that the site does more to stop people posting videos that he deems to give support to ‘terrorism’.
Of course there a number of problems with his attitude. Firstly, as Youtube has rightly stated, there are hundreds of thousands of videos uploaded every single day – so to monitor that much content would be nigh-on impossible.
There is also quite a large problem in many cases over what a terrorist act actually constitutes to one person and another from different cultures and backgrounds, and that such a nuanced decision is left in the hands of the anonymous posters is a potentially difficult situation.
In a previous response to Senator Lieberman, writes the Huffington Post, Youtube reported that majority of examples given were not deemed to be offensive for the site.
“Senator Lieberman’s staff identified numerous videos that they believed violated YouTube’s Community Guidelines. In response to his concerns, we examined and ended up removing a number of videos from the site, primarily because they depicted gratuitous violence, advocated violence, or used hate 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.”
So what happens when there is rational debate sparked by a poster who is then flagged, and silenced, as a terrorist by those who just disagree with the video rather than engaging in a constructive dialogue?
Of course it could be argued offensive extreme violence should not be freely displayed on mainstream, or indeed any, site. But as Youtube has pointed, out free speech should be maintained as one of the key principles where possible.