Everyone Is Calling For YouTube to Take Down This Video

The streaming service has refused to remove the video, claiming it doesn't violate the platform's terms of service.

YouTube has long been a magnet for controversy, from the legal woes of its biggest stars to the potentially offensive content the site hosts. Now, YouTube is drawing criticism for its refusal to take down a violent video of a mass shooting that spokespeople for the company say doesn't actually violate the site's terms of service. Read on to discover what the controversy is all about, and for the latest on your favorite streaming services, If You're Sharing a Netflix Account, the Service Has a New Warning for You.

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The video shows the Boulder, Colorado supermarket mass shooting.

police officers outside king soopers supermarket in boulder colorado after mass shooting
Shutterstock/DanielJohn

On March 22, a lone gunman opened fire inside a King Soopers supermarket in Boulder, Colorado, killing 10 people. Bystander Dean Schiller filmed a three-hour video of the chaos from outside the store, capturing the sounds of the gunshots being fired inside the store, video of dead bodies outside the supermarket, and, ultimately, the shooter being led out of the building by police.

Schiller, a self-described journalist, has been criticized for filming the graphic material, with many viewers taking to social media to condemn his behavior during the shooting, which allegedly includes arguing with police officers on the scene and speculating about both the identity of the shooter and the motive behind the crime; YouTube has been similarly criticized for keeping the video up. And for the latest news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

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The video is now preceded by multiple warnings to viewers.

youtube disclaimer on black screen
YouTube

Schiller's video, which had been viewed 735,000 times as of Wednesday, March 24, remains on YouTube, despite backlash from countless individuals on social media who've called for it to be removed.

"@YouTube needs to delete his videos and suspend his account," wrote one Twitter user. Another wrote, "Here's a radical idea. When you see an active shooter nearby, don't start livestreaming footage of innocent people who seem to have been shot and then shout: 'We need 911 here right now. Stop the bloody stream and use your mobile phone to call emergency services for help."

Due to its graphic nature, the video now has two warnings from YouTube that precede it, which deem the content "inappropriate or offensive to some audiences" and "inappropriate for some users," respectively.  Viewers must click a box confirming they "understand and wish to proceed" on each of the two disclaimers before the content becomes available to them. And for more businesses facing customer backlash, This Is the Most Unpopular Cell Phone Carrier, According to Data.

3
YouTube says the video doesn't violate its policies.

terms of service agree button
Shutterstock/ninefotostudio

However, despite the backlash, YouTube claims the video is not in violation of the site's policies due to its journalistic merit.

"We do allow certain violent or graphic content with sufficient news or documentary context, and so we've applied an age restriction to this particular content. We will continue to monitor this rapidly changing situation," said YouTube spokesperson Elena Hernandez in a statement, via The New York Times. Best Life has reached out to YouTube for further commentary.

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This isn't the first time YouTube has gotten in hot water over refusing to delete a video amid the pandemic.

youtube tab pulled up on computer screen
Shutterstock/JuliusKielaitis

In November 2020, YouTube ruffled feathers after it refused to take down a video that claimed Donald Trump had won the 2020 presidential election prior to it being called, despite the video seemingly violating the video service's terms and conditions.

While YouTube did not remove the video, it took ads off the clip, thus undermining its profitability. "We do not allow ads to run on content that undermines confidence in elections with demonstrably false information," YouTube spokeswoman Christa Muldoon told CNBC at the time. "The election has not been called. Therefore, this is in scope of our demonstrably false policy and will be demonetized on YouTube." And for more controversies in the news, This Is Why Everyone's Mad at Burger King Right Now.

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