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Free speech or incitement? YouTube finds a good balance

When the Obama administration asked YouTube to review an anti-Islamic film trailer last week to see if it violates the company’s standards, some conservatives and civil liberties advocates decried the move as government censorship. In fact, the request — and YouTube’s measured response — was an appropriate attempt to balance freedom of speech with national security, a feat that has gotten harder an increasingly interconnected world.

YouTube decided that the video, which has sparked violent protests, does not rise to the level of “hate speech” and would remain up in most of the world. But the website decided to restrict access in countries where anti-Islamic statements are illegal, such as India and Indonesia, as well as places where the video has caused violent unrest, such as Egypt and Libya.

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