Video with Images of Murdered 4-year-old Angers Mother; Should YouTube Intervene?

YouTube offers great things to the world. The platform gives a space to its users to not only make art, but also to form a community without boundaries — anyone can post anything. But like all things in life, it’s a double-edged sword. The fact that anyone can post anything means, in some cases, people showcasing their ignorance.

A video uploaded by user Celeste Cortes fell into the latter category when it attempted to suggest that a 4-year-old boy murdered in 2003 is still alive today and part of a conspiracy theory. The video is a montage of Brendan Gonzalez, murdered in 2003 by his father, accompanied with text suggesting that he is still alive today and part of a child trafficking ring. Although uploaded in January 2013, the poorly-edited, outlandish video did not catch the attention of media until the little boy’s mother, Rebecca Gonzalez, brought it to light.

Rebecca Gonzalez flagged the video over 100 times, contacted the uploader and contacted YouTube to get it taken down. When her attempts failed, she contacted Houston’s KHOU news station, stating, “You can’t just use people’s images of their loved ones for sick twisted missions.”

Much like the Kendall Jones Facebook debacle, in which the social media site eventually removed pictures of Jones hunting endangered animals, where should websites draw a line? Should guidelines be enforced for what is deemed acceptable and unacceptable for a user’s content, or are these cases simply the downfall of freedom of speech in the age of the internet?

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