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Lieberman to YouTube: Remove al Qaeda videos

  • Story Highlights
  • Sen. Joe Lieberman urges Google to take al Qaeda videos off YouTube
  • The Connecticut independent says the videos include hate speech
  • His letter to Google follows congressional report on terrorists' Internet use
  • YouTube responds by saying it encourages free speech; deletes some videos
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. Joseph Lieberman is urging Google Inc. to take down YouTube videos that he said al Qaeda and "other terrorist organizations" use to encourage violence and disseminate propaganda.

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Sen. Joe Lieberman asked Google CEO Eric Schmidt, pictured, to remove terror videos from YouTube.

In a Monday letter to Eric Schmidt, chief executive officer of Google, Lieberman asked that YouTube "implement its own policy against this offensive material," by removing the videos. Lieberman, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, also wants YouTube staffers to have a system that will prevent the video from reappearing.

The letter follows the committee's staff report on terrorists' Internet use. Read the report

YouTube is a subsidiary of Google Inc.

"Many of the videos produced by one of the production arms of al Qaeda show attacks on U.S. forces in which American soldiers are injured and, in some cases, killed," wrote Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut.

"The community guidelines state that 'graphic or gratuitous violence is not allowed. If your video shows someone getting hurt, attacked, or humiliated, don't post it.' ... Nevertheless, those videos remain available for viewing on YouTube," he wrote.

YouTube said Monday on its blog that it had removed a "number of videos" from its site after examining several videos that Lieberman's staff said "violated YouTube's Community Guidelines."

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The videos that were removed "depicted gratuitous violence, advocated violence, or used hate speech," YouTube said.

However, "Most of the videos, which did not contain violent or hate speech content, were not removed because they do not violate our Community Guidelines."

The statement did not say how many videos were removed, and it was not immediately clear when they were taken down.

Lieberman asked in his letter that YouTube "immediately remove content produced by Islamist terrorist organizations ... a straightforward task since so many of the Islamist terrorist organizations brand their material with logos or icons identifying their provenance."

However, the video-sharing Web site said it could not comply with the request because some of the videos that mention or feature those groups include "legal nonviolent or non-hate speech videos."

"While we respect and understand his views, YouTube encourages free speech and defends everyone's right to express unpopular points of view," the site said of Lieberman.

"We believe that YouTube is a richer and more relevant platform for users precisely because it hosts a diverse range of views."

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