Thursday, November 15, 2012

Israel posts Hamas assassination video: First banned, then restored by YouTube

Israel has initiated "Operation Pillar of Defense." It began the operation, against Hamas, which is the Islamist party that governs the Gaza Strip area of the Middle East on Wednesday, and is using social media to spread the news, only to see content blocked, then restored -- at least once.

Israel has chosen to use social media, such as Twitter, to "live blog" the conflict. In addition, though, the country has also chosen to use Twitter to announce breaking reports of operations, before any other media issues reports of the "action."

That is an unusual move, and perhaps the first of its kind. This could be the first time that official news of a war operation has broken on the micro-blogging service prior to any other media source.

One such example of breaking news was the assassination of the leader of the Hamas Military Wing, Ahmed al-Jabari. The video, embedded, shows a pinpoint strike on al-Jabari's car as it moves through the streets.

One thing about relying on third-party social media services, though: they can remove what you tweet, post or otherwise upload. The assassination video was removed from YouTube for a time. It was later returned, though, with YouTube saying:
With the massive volume of videos on our site, sometimes we make the wrong call. When it’s brought to our attention that a video has been removed mistakenly, we act quickly to reinstate it.
Translation: someone flagged the video as offensive, and it was removed. Then, IDF (or someone) said, "Hey," and it was put back up.

It's not unusual for such videos to be taken down temporarily. The YouTube Terms of Service does have provisions for violence, although it specifies "gratuitous" violence.

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