Google Has No Plans to Rethink Video Status

SAN FRANCISCO — Google said on Friday that it would not comply with a White House request to reconsider the anti-Islam video that has set off violent protests in the Arab world in light of its rules banning hate speech on YouTube, which it owns.

 

Google said it had already determined that the video did not violate its terms of service regarding hate speech. In this case, the video stays up because it is against the Islam religion but not Muslim people.

 

These actions came after Google temporarily blocked the video on Wednesday in Egypt and Libya of its own volition — not because it violated laws or YouTube’s terms of service — an extraordinary measure that it said it took in response to the delicacy of the situation. The video is accessible in the rest of the world, even as protests spread to nearly 20 countries, from North Africa to Indonesia.

Meanwhile, a Facebook spokeswoman confirmed that the company had restricted access to a link to the film in Pakistan, at the request of its government.

 

Kevin Bankston, director of the free expression project at the Center for Democracy and Technology, a nonprofit group that focuses on digital civil liberties, said that Google, as a private company, could decide what was appropriate on its sites and what was not. But he added, “Considering the power that many of these platforms have, it’s important for them to be as clear and transparent as possible about those decisions.”