Fox News Insider, December 5, 2016:
YouTube has the ability to remove videos seen as having the potential to recruit terrorists, says Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano.
The judge joined Jenna Lee on Happening Now to discuss growing questions on why the videos of radical Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki – leader of the al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen – have been allowed to remain on YouTube.
Investigators have linked the ideology of al-Awlaki, who was killed in Yemen five years ago, to at least 11 incidents since 2009, including the recent attack on the campus of Ohio State University.
According to a YouTube representative, “YouTube has clear policies in prohibiting terrorist recruitment and content intending to incite violence, and we quickly remove videos violating these policies when flagged by our users.” So why then are al-Awlaki’s videos allowed to remain on the platform, Lee asked.
“The short answer is his videos are still out there because like flag burning, they are protected speech,” Napolitano said. “Even though they are hateful, even though they advocate violence, even though they are profoundly un-American, they are protected speech…protected from the government…but not protected from YouTube, which is not the government.
“So the First Amendment says the government shall not interfere with free speech, but YouTube could take them down in a flash just because it doesn’t want this stuff being propagated on its platform.”
Napolitano said YouTube should make a “business judgment” on how to handle this content.
“If they think their their shareholders want a free and open platform where any political idea can be aired no matter how horrible, hateful or harmful it may be, they should keep it on there,” he said. “But if they want to cleanse the airwaves of this horror and terror producing stuff, they can take it down with impunity.”