YouTube deletes thousands of videos from extremist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki

YouTube

YouTube

Counterterrorism proponents and governments have expressed concerns that Awlaki's videos, as well as other forms of Islamist propaganda, could fuel homegrown extremism.

A search for "Anwar al-Awlaki" on YouTube this fall found more than 70,000 videos, but that number has dropped to 18,600 since the new policy was put in place.

According to the Times, YouTube now automatically flags Awlaki's videos and human reviewers intermediate when an Awlaki lecture is uploaded to the site.

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Anwar al-Awlaki, an American cleric and leading English-language jihadist recruiter, has helped inspire a generation of terrorists, including the Boston Marathon bombers, the Fort Hood gunman, and those behind the shootings in Orlando, Fla. and San Bernardino, Calif.

That number has since been reduced to around 18,500, and the majority of videos available appear to be news reports and documentaries about his life and death. The officials told the Times that while their rules prohibit videos that incite terrorism, removing all of al Awlaki's videos is a special case. A USA drone strike in 2011 killed Awlaki, who had ties to multiple hijackers in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, when he was an al Qaeda leader in Yemen. The video sharing website had removed several extremist videos from the site. "You just don't want to make it easy for people to listen to a guy who wants to harm us".

In the past few months, Google has been actively keeping a check on YouTube content.

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