YouTube blocks videos of late jihadist cleric: report

YouTube blocks videos of late jihadist cleric: report
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YouTube has blocked a large number of propaganda videos from late jihadist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki due to mounting pressure from counterterrorism advocates and governments, according to The New York Times. 

Hundreds of hours of al-Awlaki's lectures and talks had been easily accessible on the site for years, according to the Times. However, the publication reported that only 18,600 videos came up when al-Awlaki's name was searched on Sunday, as opposed to 70,000 videos that came up earlier this fall. 


That number has since been reduced to around 18,500, and the majority of videos available appear to be news reports and documentaries about his life and death. 

Al-Awlaki was deemed a martyr by various Islamic extremists after he was killed in a drone strike ordered by the Obama administration in 2011. 

Counterterrorism experts and governments have expressed concerns that al-Awlaki's videos, as well as other forms of Islamist propaganda, could fuel homegrown extremism. 

Terror organizations such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria have used online platforms to recruit and radicalize people across the world. 

However, free speech and civil liberties advocates have expressed their own concerns about government and corporate censorship. 

The report comes as YouTube and other internet platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are facing backlash for being too neutral when it comes to material posted on their websites. 

The three websites have all revealed that Russian actors used their platforms during the 2016 presidential campaign to spread propaganda aimed at influencing the election.