YouTube won’t remove antisemitic, pro-terror videos; whistleblower punished

Whistleblower said he was told the video in which hate preacher said “God curse the Jews” does not violate YouTube’s hate speech policy.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

The world’s most popular video-sharing site refuses to take down antisemitic and terror-promoting videos on its platform, and a whistleblower who attempted to sound the alarm about the content was punished, The Jewish Chronicle reported.

Khaled Hassan, an Egyptian-born, native Arabic speaker based in the UK, told JC that his warnings about Islamic incitement videos were often ignored by both YouTube and the risk intelligence firm where he was employed, which had been retained by the video-sharing platform specifically to screen Arabic language content.

During the first few weeks of his job, Hassan wrote a message to his boss after flagging incendiary, antisemitic content and was told the content he believed was hateful fell into a grey area.

“I flagged some videos with the hate guys. They literally said ‘God curse the Jews’ and other brazenly antisemitic stuff,” Hassan told JC.

But his bosses simply shrugged it off and said that “this stuff is not as clear cut as you think” and that the content did not violate YouTube’s hate speech policy, he said.

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However, there was an obvious double standard when it came to Jewish creators on the platform, Hassan noted.

“I was flagging a lot of content from radical, right-wing Jewish organizations. And for this, I received a lot of praise,” he said.

Hassan was disturbed by the hypocrisy and complained multiple times about YouTube’s failure to take down videos featuring Islamic hate preachers calling for violence against Jews and non-Muslims, including clips made by people who were facing criminal charges in the UK for glorifying terrorism.

On one occasion, he raised concerns about a video that praised the Hamas terrorist who killed South African-born tour guide Eli Kay in a November 2021 terror attack in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Hassan was given a variety of nonsensical explanations as to why YouTube had failed to act. One was that because the Koran mentions Jews, Islamists speaking about Jews in a derogatory manner were “expressing a religious opinion.”

Another excuse, he said, was that YouTube maintains a list of 29 terrorists who are banned from the platform. If a Hamas activist made a video promoting terror, but that specific person was not on YouTube’s black list, the company would not remove their content.

JC reviewed the list and saw that not one Palestinian was included.

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Eventually, Hassan said, he was demoted from his position after his bosses accused him of being biased against “Palestinian content” and was told he must get approval from a Palestinian colleague, who was assigned to a different department, before flagging videos made by Palestinians as problematic.

Hassan then resigned from his position.

According to JC, another employee at Hassan’s former company had warned about content from hate preacher Israr Ahmed, which included videos describing Jews as a “cursed people” and “cursed race.”

Other videos from Ahmed claimed that “Satanic” Jews have been conspiring to destroy the Islamic world since time immemorial.

YouTube chose not to remove the content, and Ahmed’s videos were later cited as a source of inspiration for Malik Faisal Akram, who held a Texas synagogue hostage for 12 hours in January 2022.

UPDATE: According to a follow-up JC report, Youtube has finally removed two channels linked to notorious hate preachers as a result of pressure from the news outlet.