YouTube's "trusted flaggers" are given leave to police videos

Ever notice that little flag icon that underlines YouTube videos? It’s part of Google’s content reporting system , clicking it notifies YouTube moderators that the attached video might violate site’s community guidelines. The feature has been in place for ages, but it caught some attention last week when the Financial Times reported that British security had been granted special permissions to police YouTube content. 

GoogleGOOG +1.65% has given roughly 200 people and organizations, including a British police unit, the ability to “flag” up to 20 YouTube videos at once to be reviewed for violating the site’s guidelines. The Financial Times last week reported that the U.K. Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit has been using its “super flagger” authority to seek reviews – and removal – of videos it considers extremist. The news sparked concern that Google lets the U.K. government censor videos that it doesn’t like, and prompted Google to disclose more details about the program. Any user can ask for a video to reviewed. Participants in the super flagger program, begun as a pilot in 2012, can seek reviews of 20 videos at once.

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