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YouTube changes course on IDF video

NEW YORK (JTA) — YouTube has restored unrestricted access to videos uploaded by the Israel Defense Forces.

Several of the videos, which were part of a public relations offensive and featured aerial footage of airstrikes on suspected Hamas targets, had been removed from the popular video sharing Web site after users flagged them as inappropriate content. For a time, several of the videos were placed behind an age-restriced firewall.

According to YouTube, which is owned by the Internet giant Google, the videos have been restored to full, unrestricted access. Google controls the majority of Internet search requests and, as its dominance has grown, has come under increasing criticism for its alleged censorship.

Though its policy is not to comment on individual videos, Victoria Grand, the head of policy for YouTube, implied that the company had made a mistake in removing the videos.

"With 13 hours of video uploaded every minute to YouTube, we count on our community members to know our Community Guidelines and to flag content they believe violates them," Grand said in a statement supplied to JTA. "We review all flagged content quickly, and if we find that a video does violate the guidelines, we remove it, on average in under an hour.

"Occasionally a video flagged by users is mistakenly taken down. When this is brought to our attention, we review the content and take appropriate action, which may include restoring videos that had been removed."

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