YouTube said it would not remove a video shot by a member of the public during Monday’s massacre at the King Soopers supermarket in Boulder, Colo. That includes footage of bodies lying on the ground.
Viewers must click on two reviews to watch the video. The reviews state that “this video may be inappropriate for certain viewers” and “the following content has been identified by the YouTube community as inappropriate or offensive to certain audiences”.
In the past, YouTube and other video-supporting networks, such as Twitter and Facebook, have shut down videos containing explicit violence. This was the case in 2019, when a sniper in Christchurch, New Zealand broadcast his own massacre live. But YouTube said in a statement Wednesday that the video made in Boulder had been revised and would be allowed to continue online.
“Violent content created with the intention of shocking or disgusting viewers, as well as hate speech, is not allowed on YouTube, and because of this we have already removed a series of videos for violating our policies.” , said a representative of the statement. in the company press release, Elena Hernandez.
“We allow certain violent or explicit content that has sufficient news or documentary context, and for that reason we have an age limit on that particular content. We will continue to monitor this rapidly evolving situation. “
YouTube said it takes several factors into account when deciding whether to remove a video, including whether it contextualizes the violence, whether violence is the video’s primary focus, and whether the accompanying text indicates an intention to shock or disgust. the television viewers.
The three-hour video from the King Soopers supermarket, made by a viewer named Dean Schiller pretending to have a friend inside the store, begins with Schiller zooming in on a body in the parking lot. Gunshots are heard as he walks into the store and focuses on a body lying near the entrance. For an hour, he films, positioned behind cars, railings and trees, rejecting repeated police orders to move away from the area and picking up the police response from outside the building.
Schiller repeatedly identifies himself with the police as a journalist and resists the police who, after about 90 minutes, lead him behind the yellow police tape, where journalists normally position themselves. Previously, its proximity allowed spectators to follow events directly, including images of a man in handcuffs and with a bloody leg taken by police officers.
Some viewers criticized the video for showing explicit body images and speculating on the motives. The video had already been viewed more than 700,000 times on YouTube by Wednesday morning. According to Colorado Springs’ The Gazette, at one point more than 30,000 people were watching the video simultaneously.
Schiller, who has no connection to a news organization, describes himself as a citizen journalist and is well known to Boulder Police. According to the Gazette, he sued the city government in 2019 after being arrested for filming in and near the county jail.