Youtube in General

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YouTube as a widely used and easily accessed video sharing site has become a topic of discussion of ethics in various groups. Everyone can create a YouTube account and start uploading videos and everyone around the world have access to this. For watching videos in YouTube you don’t even have to have an account there, you just have to have access to internet. So, this way YouTube has become one of the world’s biggest sharing site and as well as other social media sites have become increasingly broader, the information spreads more faster and wider so for any reason interesting YouTube video spreads rapidly fast in different groups. So YouTube can be a great place through which disseminate news, jokes, advertising, etc, but also it has become the site through which are disseminating a lot of other information which could be damaging the interests of third parties or even be derogatory, affecting or against the law or ethics.


Censorship in YouTube

Of course, even in YouTube there are some censorship – users can flag the videos what on their opinion have something wrong and if video has collected enough numbers of flags, it will be removed. But before uploading the video there is no control and before collecting enough flags the video is public to anyone.

The other quite frequently used option is to block YouTube on the state level. Many countries have been blocking or are blocking YouTube right now for the political reasons. Other countries, like UK has a specific direction to block YouTube in schools and workplaces, because it interferes the staff and students, however it is freely available on other places. In details it is explaned in Wikiversity in text named YouTube Censorship.


The importance of YouTube

YouTube is one way to use the right of freedom of expression, but as in journalism there are certain rules what must be followed, in YouTube there is almost no self-control. If, for example, in journalism, journalist must follow the rules like to hear all sides of the story, to reflect the story neutrally, not to direct the influence to the public, not to convict someone before the notification of the conviction, etc and usually the journalist follow these rules because it is matter of their good name and credibility. In YouTube you do not have to identify yourself and after the disturbing video is removed, there still are maybe thousands and thousands of people who have seen it and made their own conclusions.

Of course, there is other side. It is up to the user what s/he watches in YouTube, it is presumed that users or video watchers are mature enough to choose what they are viewing and have a critical sense to understand that not all emitted into the internet is reliable.


The Conclusion

So, for the conclusion, in YouTube as in any site in internet and as in every area of life it is on people and their sense of morality what is ethical and how to understand and cope with it.

YouTube has expanded the understanding the freedom of expression - and with giving people a lot powerful features YouTube has also served the need of increase of responsibility.

Robert Amsterdam has written an article about erasing his video for YouTube and I would like to highlight one idea of his: "simply erasing content from the internet does not erase the human rights violations..". Any censorship action can remove videos from YouTube, but it doesn't make them get lost, in YouTube or in real life.


See more about

  • "An anthropological introduction to YouTube" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPAO-lZ4_hU
  • YouTube Censorship - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blocking_of_YouTube
  • Censorship by Google - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship_by_Google
  • Robert Amsterdam "Censorship on YouTube" - http://www.robertamsterdam.com/2008/02/censorship_on_youtube.htm