Anti-terror unit in push to remove hate video from YouTube as Cameron vows to drive out ‘extremist poison’

The government is pressing YouTube to take down extremist videos used to recruit young Britons to fight in Syria and Iraq.

It follows outrage that a shocking jihadi film featuring British student Nasser Muthana was still available on the site.

David Cameron insisted he was determined to drive out the ‘extremist, poisonous narrative’ wherever it appears as Downing Street said it was determined to ensure there ‘is not material online promoting terrorist activity’.

The recruitment video for the group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) features two young men from Cardiff, 20-year-olds Nasser Muthana and Reyaad Khan. Nasser’s younger brother Aseel, 17, is also thought to have travelled to Syria.

Although the original clip of posted on Friday by Islamist militant group Isis appeared to have been removed, copies posted by other YouTube users were still available.

The Home Office said the police’s Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit is working with the internet industry to remove the video

Mr Cameron regards the hosting of terror films and material online as inappropriate and the authorities are in talks to ensure it is removed.

The government has stepped up efforts to monitor Britons who have traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight, amid warnings the security services are unable to monitor all of those who return.

Speaking in Manchester today, Mr Cameron said: ‘This is a big threat to our country as I have repeatedly set out.

‘That’s why we are putting more of our resources in terms of intelligence, security, policing, into stopping people to travel to Syria, monitoring them properly when they return and making sure we reduce the risk to our country.

‘The most important thing of all is to stop this radicalisation in the first place.

‘That’s why my Counter-Extremism taskforce is about driving out the extremist, poisonous narrative and getting it out of our schools, getting it out of our universities, getting it out of our campuses, getting it out of our prisons, confronting it wherever it appears, because we know the end part of this extremist narrative can mean people dead on our own streets.’

Since January 2010, the UK government has removed 34,000 pieces of terrorist-related content from the internet, including 15,000 since December last year.

The PM’s spokesman said: We do think it is extremely important to be looking at what there is online and working with the internet industry to remove terrorist material hosted in the UK or overseas.’

‘The increase in activity since December reflects the work of the Government’s Extremism Task Force, which reported in December and highlighted that this was one of the areas where we should seek to take further action,’ the spokesman added.

A Home Office spokesman added: ‘We do not tolerate the existence of online terrorist and extremist propaganda, which directly influences people who are vulnerable to radicalisation.

‘We already work closely with the internet industry to remove terrorist material hosted in the UK or overseas. We also continue to work with charities and community groups to help them challenge those who use the internet to promote extremist ideologies. As part of this, industry specialists have provided training to help them build an effective presence online.’


It follows warnings that YouTube, which is owned by Google, were failing in their duty to help stop terror fanatics.

Paul Flynn said: ‘They should be hauled before someone to account for themselves. They are as rich as Croesus – they have made huge sums of money.

‘Now they should have the decency and the responsibility to act. We want to see them act as swiftly as possible.

‘I want to appeal to their better nature, struggling to escape their greedy nature. They should examine their consciences.

‘I’m sure these people have no idea what harm they are doing.’

‘Videos which endorse violence and racial enmity should be taken down.

‘The laws against those who stir up religious hatred and racial enmity exist, it’s a question of applying them.’

YouTube insists its guidelines prohibit ‘gratuitous violence, dangerous and illegal activities, inciting others to commit violent acts, and brandishing weapons’.


ISIS has deployed a sophisticated social media strategy to promote jihad through YouTube and other sites.

Since its military offensive began on June 9, a string of Twitter accounts claiming to represent the group in Iraq and Syria have been active in providing live updates on the group’s operations and images illustrating their advances.

Although the accounts have not been officially endorsed by ISIS, they have been widely promoted as official regional accounts by the group’s many online supporters, issuing photos and statements to highlight its military strength and territorial advances in Iraq.


On June 15, images were uploaded of what appeared to be dozens of captured Iraqi security personnel along with threats and messages to surrounding towns warning residents of the group’s approach.

The photos included the apparent capture, transport and ultimate killing of the soldiers. The material went viral on the internet and was widely shared by ISIS supporters.

In its Twitter feed, ISIS gives extensive details of its operations, including the number of bombings, suicide missions and assassinations it has carried out and the names of checkpoints and towns it controls.

The group also produces professional promotional videos and urges support for its ‘one billion campaign’, which calls on Muslims to post messages, photos and videos of support on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

In an attempt to limit the impact of ISIS’s social media campaign, the Iraqi government has blocked Facebook, Twitter and other platforms.

Twitter has also taken some steps to suspend accounts including an ISIS member who tweeted images of an amputation in February. But other accounts quickly spring up.

Last night a YouTube spokesman said: ‘YouTube has clear policies prohibiting violent content or content intended to incite violence, and we remove videos violating these policies when flagged by our users.

‘We also terminate any account registered by a member of a designated Foreign Terrorist Organisation and used in an official capacity to further its interests.

‘We allow videos posted with a clear news or documentary purpose to remain on YouTube, applying warnings and age-restrictions as appropriate.’

A Twitter spokesman said it did not actively monitor content on the platform but its rules ‘prohibited the publication or posting of direct, specific threats of violence against others or any unlawful use’.

He added: ‘We don’t comment on individual accounts.’

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