Google doesn't share details about how its video reviews are conducted, but it employs an unknown number of reviewers who regularly scan the site for violations of local laws and the company's guidelines.
Google discussed its approach to Internet content in a November 2007 blog post that came about a year after buying YouTube for $1.76 billion.
"We have a bias in favor of people's right to free expression in everything we do," wrote Rachel Whetstone, Google's director of global communications and public affairs, "We are driven by a belief that more information generally means more choice, more freedom and ultimately more power for the individual. But we also recognize that freedom of expression can't be — and shouldn't be — without some limits. The difficulty is in deciding where those boundaries are drawn."
Usually, the decisions are dictated by the law in the more than 100 different countries where Google's services are offered. The laws in some countries prohibit material that would seem tame in other countries. For instance, Brazil prohibits video ridiculing political candidates in the three months leading up to an election, while Germany outlaws content featuring Nazi paraphernalia.
In the first half of this year alone, Google said it received more than 1,700 court orders and other requests from government agencies around the world to remove more than 17,700 different pieces of content from its services.
The company rejects many of these demands. For instance, Google says it complied with less than half of the U.S. court orders and government orders take down nearly 4,200 pieces of content from January through June.
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AP Technology Writer Michael Liedtke in San Francisco contributed to this report.
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