Senate Democrats press YouTube on removing ‘ghost gun’ videos

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Five Democratic senators on Monday wrote a letter to YouTube asking the online video platform to more strictly enforce its policy forbidding videos about making “ghost guns.”  

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) along with fellow Democratic Sens. Bob Menendez (N.J.), Chris Murphy (Conn.), Cory Booker (N.J.) and Ed Markey (Mass.) wrote to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki to express “serious concern that YouTube continues to host videos that instruct viewers on how to make and manufacture ghost guns.”

“That YouTube has Community Guidelines in place to prohibit content instructing viewers on how to make firearms is a welcome initiative, but these policies must be enforced—and enforced strongly—to make any difference,” the senators wrote.

Ghost guns are weapons that can be built using at-home kits available for anyone to purchase. They do not have serial numbers, which makes them nearly impossible to trace.

Their letter followed an NBC News report in December that found that, despite being in violation of YouTube’s guidelines, dozens of videos about how to assemble ghost guns could still be viewed on the site.

The lawmakers’ letter noted that YouTube has removed some of these videos and participated in talks with congressional staffers about the issue. But the senators called for more action from the video-sharing giant. 

“It cannot be the case that YouTube is entirely reactive, removing these kinds of videos only when news outlets call public attention to violative content, when gun violence prevention advocates send letters listing specific YouTube videos that violate its Community Guidelines, or when congressional staff reach out to raise concerns about such videos,” the letter said.

YouTube spokesperson Ivy Choi said in a statement that the company’s policy “prohibits content instructing viewers on how to make ghost guns or 3D printed guns.” 

“This work is ongoing, and our teams will continue to work hard to refine the policies and systems that allow us to quickly detect and remove violative videos,” Choi added.

Updated at 12:34 p.m.

Tags Alphabet Bob Menendez Chris Murphy Cory Booker Ed Markey ghost guns Senate Social media Video YouTube

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