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YouTube deletes thousands of videos from extremist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki

14 November 2017

The New York Times report from Sunday clocked 18,800 results, which shows that the number continues to fall.

The Times noted that a small number of clips of Awlaki speaking disappeared after the paper sent an inquiry about the site's policy change last week.

Al-Awlaki was killed in a drone strike ordered by the Obama administration in 2011. The radical American born cleric was killed in 2011 by a USA drone strike in Yemen, but his teachings, which encourage violence, have lived on in tens of thousands of videos online.

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It added that it removes all videos and terminates accounts registered by members of a "designated foreign terrorist organisation (FTO) and used in an official capacity to further the interests of the FTO".

The new program creates a database of unique digital "fingerprints" to help automatically identify videos or images the companies could remove.

Anwar al-Awlaki, an American cleric and leading English-language jihadist recruiter, has helped inspire a generation of terrorists, including the Boston Marathon bombers, the Fort Hood gunman, and those behind the shootings in Orlando, Fla. and San Bernardino, Calif.

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The top videos are now about Awlaki, instead of propaganda videos from him.

In 2015, internet giant Google said that YouTube was so inundated that staff couldn't filter all terror-related content, complicating the struggle to halt the publication of terrorist propaganda and hostage videos.

Social media has increasingly become a tool for recruiting and radicalization by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

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"It's a watershed moment on the question of whether we're going to allow the unchecked proliferation of cyberjihad", Mark D. Wallace, former diplomat and current CEO of the Counter Extremism Project - a research organization that long called for Awlaki's videos to be taken down online.

YouTube deletes thousands of videos from extremist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki