Police say that they’ve asked YouTube to remove 50 to 60 videos throughout the last two years, and now over 30 have been taken down. While it isn’t known if there's a link between the videos and UK drill, a YouTube spokesperson discussed the matter in a statement, sharing that the site is getting rid of “gang-related” videos “that infringe our community guidelines or break the law,” per The Guardian.
“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,” the spokesperson said. “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.”
Removal of the videos follows a revived controversy over UK drill—which began in Chicago and was embraced by young Londoners—and its relation to violence. While artists contend that the music is a reflection of their reality, the police have seen associations between violent crimes and lyrics.
Dan Hancox, author of the new grim book Inner City Pressure, spoke with The Guardian about the Metropolitan Police’s current crusade against UK drill. While the violence often arises from “untreated social problems,” Hancox said, “you can see connections between real-life trouble and music world battles—that’s a case that judges have made and that’s what the police believe is the case.”
He continued, “YouTube and social media such as Instagram and Snapchat can elevate those tensions to the point where there’s a need to save face and stand by your words. Some well-meaning people have maybe overlooked some of those specific connections.”
Adeel Amini, editor of UK platform Press Play OK told BBC News that the police’s crusade is a “deflection” of issues that matter in regards to London’s “the disenfranchisement of youth” and said that YouTube’s censorship sets a “dangerous precedent.”