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October 6th, 2006 - Iraq Snuff Films Find Home on YouTube

News article by Gawker magazine

Summary of Iraq War Videos

Iraq Snuff Films Find Home on YouTube



October 6, 2006


The New York Times wakes up to yet another scary aspect of YouTube, that being the posting of graphic combat footage from Iraq.


The obvious points are addressed - YouTube enforcing a policy of taking down videos that show death and/or graphic violence, veterans and others expressing mixed feelings about inappropriate content vs. free speech, and angst over pro-insurgency video that glorifies the killing of American soldiers.


Though videos like these get administratively removed pretty quickly, you can always find more (often the same videos, re-uploaded endlessly) with elementary searches. YouTube carefully notes that they delete clips that "display graphic depictions of violence in addition to any war footage (U.S. or other) displayed with intent to shock or disgust, or graphic war footage with implied death (of U.S. troops or otherwise)."


That "other/otherwise" qualifier might be more often applied to dead Americans than dead insurgents, though; while various Al Qaeda propaganda videos of sniper hits on American soldiers get routinely deleted, other clips - like this infrared footage of a supposedly insurgent trio getting cut to pieces by machine-gun fire from a C-130 plane - can remain online for months undisturbed.


That video itself isn't graphically violent per se, but its indistinct nature almost makes it just as unsettling as up-close blood & guts. Maybe it's been overlooked by YouTube censors because the uploader categorized it as "comedy."


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