YouTube has now implemented a policy change to block the vast majority of video messages on the site from one of the world's top terrorist recruiters amid growing pressure from governments and counterterrorism advocates.
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 us terrorists, including the shooter of the Orlando nightclub in 2016.
Google removed hundreds of al-Awalaki's videos in 2010 which directly advocated violence, following the conviction of Roshonara Choudhry, a radicalized follower who stabbed British MP Stephen Timms earlier that year.
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. Using a "hash function" to fingerprint individual videos that flags and puts them before a team of human reviewers, YouTube can prevent the same videos from being uploaded over and over again. The New York Times report from Sunday clocked 18,800 results, which shows that the number continues to fall. 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.
Despite his death in a United States drone strike in 2011, Awlaki's legacy lived on with more than 70,00o videos accessible on YouTube. Most of the videos still in YouTube's archive of Awlaki are news reports about his life and death and debates over his killing and work, among other related material. "You just don't want to make it easy for people to listen to a guy who wants to harm us".