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YouTube Removes Video Connected to UCSB Shooting

In the wake of Friday's shooting, YouTube issued a statement expressing condolences to the victims' families.

Image Capture via YouTube

YouTube has removed a video uploaded to its site by the suspected gunman before a shooting rampage in Santa Barbara that left seven people dead.

The video, titled “Elliot Rodger’s Retribution,” depicts the 22-year-old Rodger sitting in a car, facing the camera, and declaring, with a heavy sigh, “this is my last video.” He said he suffered a life of “loneliness, rejection and unfulfilled desires,” and talked about his plans to exact revenge on the girls who showed no interest in him, and the men who received their affections.

“I don’t know why you aren’t attracted to me, but I will punish you all for it. It’s an injustice, a crime, because I don’t know what you don’t see in me,” Rodger said in the nearly 7-minute long video. “I’m the perfect guy.”

A family lawyer identified Rodger as the shooter who was found dead after a drive-by shooting Friday night in the Isla Vista section of Santa Barbara.

In the video, Rodger describes his plans to “annihilate” all the members of an unidentified University of California at Santa Barbara sorority, and then walk on the street and “slay every single person.”

“If I had it in my power, I would stop at nothing to reduce every single one of you to mountains of skulls and rivers of blood,” Rodger says in a video punctuated with laughter.

The incident thrusts YouTube in the spotlight, as another video on the site is connected with an act of violence. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in California ordered it to remove a controversial video, “Innocence of Muslims,” that sparked violent protests in the Islamic world in 2012.

The video remained on YouTube until earlier this year, because the site determined that it did not violate community guidelines that ban hate speech or threats. The Appeals court ultimately ordered it removed for a copyright violation.

In the wake of Friday’s shooting, YouTube issued a statement expressing condolences to the victims’ families. A spokesperson said the video was removed because it violated the site’s ban on predatory behavior, stalking, threats and inciting violence.

Videos threatening violence are against YouTube’s guidelines and we remove them when they are flagged,” the company said in a statement. “We encourage anyone who sees material that they think crosses the line to flag it for us.”

As is often the case, the “Retribution” video has been reposted throughout YouTube. The site will evaluate other videos, when they’re flagged by users, to determine whether it is used in a way that affords a broader news context or commentary.

“As YouTube is a place where people come for information, where content is posted in a news context it will be allowed to stay on the site,” the spokeswoman said.

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