White House officials on Friday asked YouTube to review an anti-Muslim video cited as fueling violent protests worldwide, but according to The New York Times, the Google-owned site doesn’t have any intention of taking it down.
Google told the New York Times that the “Innocence of Muslims” video does not violate terms of service for YouTube regarding hate speech because it is focused on the Muslim religion and not the people who practice it. Although Google put up a temporary block on the clip in Egypt and Libya due to local violations in those countries, it still remains accessible to most worldwide.
The 14-minute video, which was a trailer for an upcoming “Innocence of Muslims” film thought to be created by an American man — upset the Muslim community for insulting the religion’s Prophet Muhammad. The video has also been credited as contributing to global protests, including the attack on the US consulate in Libya, which resulted in the deaths of four Americans, and igniting other protests across the globe.
Google’s decision to not comply with the White House’s request is in line with a company policy from 2007 that said it would consider laws, local policies and culture when deciding whether to remove or restrict a video.
YouTube’s Community Guidelines “encourage free speech” and “defend everyone’s right to express unpopular points of view.” However, it does not allow “hate speech,” which the company defines as “speech which attacks or demeans a group based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, and sexual orientation/gender identity.”
It does seem slightly surprising that this video doesn’t come under the definition of a hate speech, given its clear attack on Islam.