YouTube has been pulling good traffic lately: between the movie trailer for “The Innocence of Muslims” to all the video coverage from news affiliates covering the resulting aftermath, there isn’t a lot of footage that the social media company doesn’t have its fingerprints on. But should YouTube be held accountable for all its recent facilitating?
This story had blood on its hands before most Americans knew there was a story. U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other men were dead, all as a result of a movie. “The Ring,” this wasn’t. YouTube, the go-to short video aggregate for the entire world, had allowed the ‘IoM’ movie’s trailer to be uploaded and thus, viewable in a number of different countries with a strong Muslim presence. Turns out Muslims don’t like it when you say incendiary things about their prophet, Muhammad, particularly when those incendiary things include calling him a “womanizer,” “a homosexual” and “a child molester.
”YouTube, who stands by its policy on allowing the trailer to stay up throughout most of the world, has finally taken the step of banning access to the trailer in cultural hotspots throughout North Africa, India, and the Middle East, while other countries including Pakistan have taken the steps of banning the trailer themselves. It’s a case of “too little, too late” though, as the rioting continues to spread throughout the regions and protesters demand “accountability,” often with threats of violence attached. The trailer has taken on a life of its own now, well beyond YouTube’s grasp, and has been shown on television stations across the Middle East. If YouTube’s presence stopped there, the incident would likely be counted as “just one of those things.” But YouTube just can’t stay away.
Now, YouTube has allowed the posting of video footage of Libyan extremists swarming over Ambassador Stevens’ mortally wounded body (he would later be pronounced dead from “smoke inhalation” at an area hospital). This has serious potential to produce the two-fold effect of not only spurring on more rioting in the Middle East and surrounding areas, but also enraging American extremists like Pastor Terry Jones, who famously threatened to burn Qur’ans on the nine-year anniversary of the September 11th attacks. It has just been announced that Jones, who ultimately did burn the religious books (though in the much less controversial month of April) has had a warrant placed out for his arrest by Egyptian nationals over the “Innocence” film, though he ultimately had nothing to do with its production. This is the sort of sticky gray area that comes with freedom. The U.S. can’t overtly protect the likes of Pastor Jones and the actual filmmaker, Nakoula Nakoula, for fear of Muslim extremists taking that to mean that our government approves of the film, but not protecting them could wind up a deadly mistake.
So what should YouTube have done? Strangely, the answer to this (and many, many more things) can be found in a Kate Upton video. Kate, filmed dancing in a bikini to the song “Cat Daddy” by the perhaps grammatically-confused “Rej3ctz” was recently banned (but ultimately re-allowed) by YouTube’s moderators because they felt the non-nude video was “too revealing.” In that situation, a level of consideration for the feelings of others was applied (even if the consideration was for lame-asses). Here, a little forethought could have been applied as well. While I certainly have a beyond-healthy respect for the 1st Amendment, I also (mostly) know when to not say/do the things that might lead to myself/others getting savagely murdered by blood-thirsty infidels. YouTube, just because there’s a “short video” of “people” doing “stuff,” doesn’t mean it needs to wind up on your website. I’m glad you challenge us with more than just cat videos, but considering that yours is the video site for the world, you now have the grown-up task of acting with diplomacy. If you broadcast anti-Mohammad propaganda in countries where people go MURDEROUSLY CRAZY over anti-Mohammad propaganda, think back to Kate Upton and that wonderful bikini dance. You certainly acted fast enough when NBC threatened you with a copyright lawsuit, if only the same could be said for cases of common sense. Goddamn, I sound like my dad just now.