YouTube has been dragged into the big politics as White House pressured it over the controversial anti-Islamic video. The almost-14-minute-long amateur video criticizing the Muslim religion and the prophet Mohammed has been the reason for vehement protest and bursts of violence all over the Arab world. The outrage peaked in Lybia, where the angry demonstrators killed four American embassy workers, including the U.S. Ambassador for Lybia.
So far, YouTube's reaction was the outright refusal to yield to the governmental pressure. The largest video portal in the world said the following (as cited by Cnet):
"We work hard to create a community everyone can enjoy and which also enables people to express different opinions. This can be a challenge because what's OK in one country can be offensive elsewhere. This video - which is widely available on the Web - is clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube. However, we've restricted access to it in countries where it is illegal such as India and Indonesia as well as in Libya and Egypt given the very sensitive situations in these two countries. This approach is entirely consistent with principles we first laid out in 2007."
However, YouTube has taken a Solomonic solution and blocked the access to the video in the countries where it can be regarded as illegal. The said countries include India and Indonesia; and Afghanistan reacted to the controversy pro-actively, banning YouTube within its borders. The Google-owned video service has also made the video unavailable for Egypt and Lybia, the two countries where it sparked up the most massive protests.
Possible consequences of that takedown controversy can possibly affect the current YouTube community guidelines. Now, any sign of a naked or merely indecently exposed female breast on YouTube immediately results in a video blockage, whereas a clip that has led to deaths of at least four people and offended millions of Muslims all over the globe is still there.
On the other hand, a question arises as to how often the U.S. Government exerts pressure of this kind over Silicon Valley. Adam Thierer, a senior research fellow at George Mason University's Mercatus Center, has already called this approach "censorship through intimidation." A number of other civil right activists have also expressed their concerns about the state pressing the media in order to get rid of the controversial contents. The fact, frequency and scale of any previous state intervention into IT content policies remain unknown.
Update: A number of media in post-Soviet countries have reported that if the video is classified as extremist by the Russian court, the access to YouTube can be blocked for all Russian IP addresses.