A new initiative from YouTube is prompting the streaming service to remove videos, specifically featuring UK drill hip hop and rap, which police say incite violence.
According to The Guardian, YouTube has removed 30 of the 60 videos that The Metropolitan police requested be removed over the course of the past two years. Met police commissioner Cressida Dick, spoke on why drill music is being targeted in its ongoing search: "Drill music is associated with lyrics which are about glamourising serious violence. They describe the stabbings in great detail, joy and excitement."
Youtube made a statement addressing the issue with music that promotes knife violence. The platform revealed that it now has a system to uncover such video it deems dangerous to public safety: "We have a dedicated process for the police to flag videos directly to our teams because we often need specialist context from law enforcement to identify real-life threats. Along with others in the UK, we share the deep concern about this issue and do not want our platform used to incite violence."
As RA notes, YouTubes initiative follows increased chatter on how UK drill and grime music is influencing violence in London. Last month at the House Of Commons, Harjeet Sahota, a member of the London Independent Youth Safety Advisory Board spoke with members of the London music community to address the issue of labeling one style of music as the reason for increased violence:
"There's a clear correlation between the success of black music and artists of colour, and the dogged determination of the media to paint young people and their potential role models negatively. It's patronising and damaging. When we look at the subject matter of our favourite genres—such as grime and drill—it's drugs, sex and violence, which is not unique to these genres."
This move by YouTube also comes on the heels of Spotify removing what it says is "hate content" from its playlists, which included all music by R. Kelly. The "public hate content and hateful conduct” policy removes any material which "promotes, advocates, or incites hatred or violence against a group or individual based on characteristics, including, race, religion, gender identity, sex, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, veteran status, or disability."
It remains to be seen how many video YouTube will remove in its purge of UK drill and hip hop.
Harrison is Mixmag's East Coast Editor. Follow him on Twitter here