YouTube deletes 30 violent music videos in a bid to help tackle UK knife crime

YouTube has deleted dozens of music videos from its platform after the Metropolitan police linked the clips to real-world violence.

YouTube deletes 30 violent music videos in a bid to help tackle UK knife crime

Over the past two years, the police force has asked YouTube to take down between 50 and 60 videos, of which 30 have now been removed.

The action comes in the wake of comments made by Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, who blamed a number of videos on YouTube for inciting crime in London. Dick had particularly focused on drill music, a rap genre known for its violent imagery.

Speaking to LBC radio earlier this month, Dick said drill music is associated with lyrics about “glamourising serious violence: murder, stabbings”:

“They describe the stabbings in great detail, joy and excitement. Extreme violence against women is often talked about. […] Most particularly, in London we have gangs who make drill videos and in those videos, they taunt each other. They say what they’re going to do to each other and specifically what they are going to do to who.”

In response to the takedown, a YouTube spokesperson said: “We have developed policies specifically to help tackle videos related to knife crime in the UK and are continuing to work constructively with experts on this issue.

“We work with the Metropolitan police, the mayor’s office for policing and crime, the Home Office and community groups to understand this issue and ensure we are able to take action on gang-related content that infringe our community guidelines or break the law.

“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.”

Pressplay, a company that promotes drill music videos, posted a statement on Instagram saying that the police has “forced” YouTube to take down some videos, but that they will “probably be back in the next few weeks”.

A recent NSPCC report named YouTube as one of the worst offenders for exposing children to themes of suicide, bullying and violence. The results are based on survey findings across thousands of young people and parents.

Over the past year, YouTube has been tightening its rules around monetisation for smaller accounts. The move has come in the wake of several controversies for the video streaming site, including the inclusion of a suicide victim in a video by Logan Paul, which has seen a number of advertisers shift away from the platform.

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