IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Policing czar tells YouTube to take down gang videos

Sophie Linden’s plea comes after the Tribune revealed how website had failed to fully remove a video featuring knife-wielding gang members living off Caledonian Road, despite clip being used as evidence during an Old Bailey trial

25 April, 2018 — By Emily Finch

Sophie Linden: lobbying social media

CITY HALL’s deputy mayor for policing has called on social media websites, including YouTube, to take down gang videos “as quickly as possible”.

Speaking to the Tribune following a meeting at City Hall with Mayor Sadiq Khan and community leaders on Wednesday, Sophie Linden said: “We’ve been lobbying social media such as Google to take their responsibility much more seriously.

“They need to take down these videos that are inciting violence and causing problems in these communities between rival groups.”

The Tribune revealed last month that YouTube, owned by tech giant Google, had failed to fully remove a video featuring knife-wielding gang members living off Caledonian Road despite the clip being used as evidence during an Old Bailey trial.

Although the video could not be accessed in Britain it could still be viewed by changing the country location with two clicks of the mouse. The tech company failed to comment on why the video was not fully removed.

Ms Linden said that, as well as taking down gang videos, websites needed to take action to stop them going up in the first place.

“They are fantastically clever technological companies. They must be able to develop the know-how to do this,” she said.

“We’ve been contacting YouTube and we are also in discussions with the Home Office on how social media companies can step up and play their role and be responsible about what they allow to go onto their platforms.”

Ms Linden censured production companies making the videos, which are slickly edited and filmed.

“Production companies should not be knowingly developing videos that are inciting violence,” she said.

The day-long meeting at City Hall saw hundreds of community leaders discuss what can be done to stop the escalation of knife crime in the capital.

Although the event was closed to the press, one woman was heard shouting to City Hall leaders that this weekend’s predicted warm weather would see more youngsters on the streets and more violence.

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