Councillor takes action over YouTube video

A CO LEITRIM councillor has initiated legal proceedings against one of the internet’s most popular websites, YouTube, after a video was posted online depicting him as gay.

The video shows Fine Gael councillor Enda McGloin and local businessman Hubert McCormack hatching plans to open a gay bar in their local town, Drumshanbo.

Their faces are also superimposed on Village People-style photographs.

Mr McGloin, who is single, said that the video “was in poor taste” and that he had on three separate occasions attempted unsuccessfully to have it removed. Mr McCormack is married.

“I have spoken to my solicitor and the local superintendent about this video. It’s some form of silly prank but it’s in poor taste and a lot of people in this community have taken a poor view of it,” said Mr McGloin.

“I found the whole thing bizarre and completely off the wall and I can’t understand the reason behind it. Who wanted to do this?

“But, I am also taking issue with YouTube as they should have checks and balances in place to ensure things like this don’t happen,” he added.

Meanwhile, a YouTube spokesman said that because there was “nothing intrinsically wrong” with the posting, they must rely on a viewer alerting them to potential problems.

Last evening they said they hadn’t received any of Mr McGloin’s emails.

“Our content policies prohibit illegal or inappropriate content on YouTube and our community effectively polices the site for inappropriate material.

“The users can flag content that they feel is inappropriate and, once it’s flagged, it is reviewed by staff and removed from the system if it violates our community guidelines. We also disable the accounts of repeat offenders,” he said.

The spokesman added that if alerted to an invasion of privacy they will immediately act to remove the offending material.

Zooming in: a vast online video network

What is YouTube? YouTube was set up in February 2005 and is the leader in online video viewing and sharing. It lets anyone upload homemade videos by email, phones or transfer from elsewhere on the web to the site.

How popular is it? YouTube likes to remain secretive about the numbers using YouTube but says that six hours of video is uploaded onto the global site every minute.

Who owns it? Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim founded YouTube. Hurley and Chen currently serve as chief executive and chief technology officer. Within a year of its launch, YouTube was bought by Google.

How is it policed? According to YouTube, a 24-hour team is constantly removing inappropriate material from the site.

However, it is really the YouTube community of users who police the site.

Besides every video posting is a tag where a viewer can flag to YouTube that a posting is offensive.

If somebody is being bullied, defamed or insulted via the website, YouTube asks them to contact them at the following onsite link www.google.com/support/ youtube/bin/request.py where they can “report a general problem” and fill out an online form.

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