YouTube Blocks Top Terrorist Recruiter's Video Messages

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YouTube has reportedly banned almost 70,000 videos depicting lectures by Anwar al-Awlaki, an extremist jihadist who exhorted Muslims to kill Americans. A US 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.

YouTube is now blocking most of those videos with a combination of automatic and human reviewers, the New York Times reported Sunday.

The top videos are now about Awlaki, instead of propaganda videos from him.

According to The New York Times, YouTube has wiped its archives clean of Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical cleric whose videos reportedly served as online grooming to a number of USA terrorists, including the shooter of the Orlando nightclub in 2016.

Google Public Policy Manager Verity Harding said that about 300 hours of video material was being uploaded to YouTube every minute, making it virtually impossible for the company to filter all images. He was also cited as an influence in numerous terrorist attacks over the years, including the ones at Fort hood, the Boston Marathon and San Bernardino among others.

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The video sharing site YouTube says that over the last couple of months, it has taken steps to remove terrorism-related content, CBS News' Jeff Pegues reports.

Following the deadly Las Vegas shooting in October, YouTube banned gun modification tutorials from its site citing its policy against "harmful and risky content".

Social media has increasingly become a tool for recruiting and radicalization by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). "You just don't want to make it easy for people to listen to a guy who wants to harm us".

Recently, Google, Facebook and Twitter admitted that their platforms were used by Russian operatives during the 2016 presidential election to spread propaganda created to influence political opinion and sway the vote.