Music video

Law enforcement had the video clip of a UK exercise removed from Instagram

  • Meta removed several clips from a British rapper’s music video on its platforms earlier this year.
  • Law enforcement reported the content to Meta, saying it could potentially pose a security risk.
  • In its comments, the Center for Democracy & Technology recommended greater transparency in reporting.

Meta has removed several clips of a British drill rapper’s music video from its platforms after the company received takedown requests from law enforcement, according to a new report that claims platforms like Meta must have more transparency on their relations with the authority of the State. Meta removed the videos without telling the uploaders that law enforcement had requested their removal.

The reportpublished this month by the non-profit Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT), refers to a case involving videos deleted by Meta in January 2022. The company removed clips from the music video of British rapper Chinx (OS ) “Secrets Not Safe” after being flagged by UK law enforcement, who told Meta that parts of the video “could contribute to risk of harm offline”. according to a summary within the Meta-funded Oversight Board, which reviews content moderation cases and asks for feedback.

The “drill” rap subgenre is one of the most popular styles of the genre worldwide, with many national offshoots like British drill, Balkan drill, Russian drill, and French drill. Drill typically features aggressive lyrics and references to guns and violence, and some of its practitioners have ties to street gangs.

Experts at Meta, who knew the song referenced past filming, “escalated the review,” according to the summary, and ultimately removed the content for violating the platform’s rule on violence and violence. ‘incentive. The summary states that Meta’s public policy team believed the song could serve as a “threatening appeal” and “raise the risk of potential retaliation from gang violence”.

But shortly after the content was removed, the uploader appealed the ban, and a human reviewer said it didn’t break any Meta rules and reinstated it, according to the summary. Yet the content was removed again after another takedown request from law enforcement came just over a week later, and Meta also “removed other instances of the video found on its platforms,” the summary reads.

Crackdown on drill music raises censorship fears

The CDT report describes how law enforcement is using the platforms’ terms of service to flag content as “part of a growing arsenal used by state authorities to pursue the removal of content from services.” on line”. Because platform rules can include more content restrictions than national laws allow, this method of content removal “threatens users’ ability to express themselves without illegitimate government interference,” the report argues. , which says law enforcement flags can exert “significant pressure on social media companies” to act on them.

“Usually when law enforcement wants to get content taken down, they have to go to court and convince the court that the content is illegal and get a court order,” said Samir Jain, policy director at CDT, to Insider. “The problem is that basically law enforcement is circumventing what would generally be the legal requirements to get a legal process.”

To improve the process, the CDT recommends in its report that Meta distinguish and disclose situations where content reported by law enforcement is ultimately taken down due to local laws and the platform’s terms of service. The report also says users should be told if a government actor is requesting their content be removed and how they can appeal the decision.

“There is a real risk to free speech more broadly, because you can imagine the government using violations of the terms of service as a pretext to try to get providers to eliminate government criticism or speech that the government doesn’t like it,” Jain said. “Providers are in a difficult position when law enforcement asks for information to be deleted and says it is illegal.”

Meta did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Drill has been one of the most criminalized forms of music of the past decade, with constant moral panic swirling around some of the scene’s biggest stars. Chief Keef, a drill pioneer in the early 2010s in Chicago, where sound first exploded, had canceled shows by the authorities. Brooklyn’s late drill scene leader Pop Smoke faced similar repression of the local police. Prior to this deletion incident, YouTube had removed at least 130 exercise music videos after London police asked the platform to do so, and the The Metropolitan Police told Insider that he was following over 2,000 drill videos.

The New York Police Department has also focused on exercise music and has been widely reported for years. an unofficial unit dedicated to monitoring hip-hop scenes called Enterprise Operations Unit.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams suggested earlier this year that drill music videos should be removed from social media and compared them to Trump’s tweets. He quickly backtracked a few days later during a summit with popular drill rappers.