YouTube Has a Strict Policy against Hate Speech, but Makes an Exception for Jihadist Anti-Semitism

April 5 2022

Born in Egypt and living in Britain, Khaled Hassan found a job last year with Crisp, a “digital risk intelligence” company employed by YouTube. His role was to flag materials in his native Arabic that foment hatred or violence so that the video-hosting website could remove them. He pursued this task scrupulously, which soon got him into trouble, as David Rose reports:

“I flagged some videos with the [people responsible for identifying hate speech that] literally said, ‘God curse the Jews’ and other brazenly anti-Semitic stuff,” Mr. Hassan said. YouTube’s publicly stated policy is that all “hate speech” that promotes “violence or hatred against individuals or groups” based on race or religion “is not allowed” and will be “removed.”

But Mr. Hassan was told that this did not apply to the videos he wanted to get YouTube to take down. His Crisp colleague wrote: “Unfortunately this stuff is not as clear cut as you think—particularly with hate speech.” This struck Mr. Hassan as ironic: “I was flagging a lot of content from radical, right-wing Jewish organizations. And for this, I received a lot of praise.”

Crisp placed Mr. Hassan on what his boss called an “informal action plan” to scrutinize his work—because, he claims, it felt he was trying to flag too many videos that YouTube did not consider to have violated its policy. On January 12, he attended a further meeting with two of his Crisp colleagues. He says it grew heated. According to Mr. Hassan, one of his colleagues said: “We keep submitting non-violative content [to YouTube]. . . . You, Khaled, you have issues with Palestinian stuff.” . . . He was told to ask a Palestinian from another part of the company to vet any recommendation he made about videos on the conflict with Israel.

The objections to Hassan’s judgments, it is worth noting, came not only from Crisp but from YouTube itself. Eventually Hassan was demoted, and thereafter quit.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Anti-Semitism, Arab anti-Semitism, Internet


When It Comes to Peace with Israel, Many Saudis Have Religious Concerns

Sept. 22 2023

While roughly a third of Saudis are willing to cooperate with the Jewish state in matters of technology and commerce, far fewer are willing to allow Israeli teams to compete within the kingdom—let alone support diplomatic normalization. These are just a few results of a recent, detailed, and professional opinion survey—a rarity in Saudi Arabia—that has much bearing on current negotiations involving Washington, Jerusalem, and Riyadh. David Pollock notes some others:

When asked about possible factors “in considering whether or not Saudi Arabia should establish official relations with Israel,” the Saudi public opts first for an Islamic—rather than a specifically Saudi—agenda: almost half (46 percent) say it would be “important” to obtain “new Israeli guarantees of Muslim rights at al-Aqsa Mosque and al-Haram al-Sharif [i.e., the Temple Mount] in Jerusalem.” Prioritizing this issue is significantly more popular than any other option offered. . . .

This popular focus on religion is in line with responses to other controversial questions in the survey. Exactly the same percentage, for example, feel “strongly” that “our country should cut off all relations with any other country where anybody hurts the Quran.”

By comparison, Palestinian aspirations come in second place in Saudi popular perceptions of a deal with Israel. Thirty-six percent of the Saudi public say it would be “important” to obtain “new steps toward political rights and better economic opportunities for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.” Far behind these drivers in popular attitudes, surprisingly, are hypothetical American contributions to a Saudi-Israel deal—even though these have reportedly been under heavy discussion at the official level in recent months.

Therefore, based on this analysis of these new survey findings, all three governments involved in a possible trilateral U.S.-Saudi-Israel deal would be well advised to pay at least as much attention to its religious dimension as to its political, security, and economic ones.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Islam, Israel-Arab relations, Saudi Arabia, Temple Mount