Ian Payne 4am - 7am
Drill music: YouTube removes more than 80 videos for inciting gang violence
15 November 2019, 07:54
More than 80 videos thought to be inciting gang violence have been removed from YouTube in the past six months - the majority being drill music videos.
The Met Police’s new Social Media Hub has asked the site to remove more than 100 videos since May and have flagged and reviewed hundreds more for evidence and intelligence gathering.
It comes as LBC News has been told gangs are increasingly using drill music to recruit and groom young members as part of their “PR” machines.
Detective Chief Inspector Jim McKee told LBC: "It defines the gang because actually gangs are actually very different to other organised crime groups.
"They want to be known, they want to demonstrate that they have control over this estate or this postcode.
"So the Drill is its PR machine. It's front of house, it's how it recruits, how it sets out what it's about, what it does and it wants to do."
The Met has been monitoring the increase in violent content online since September 2015. A central database of more than 3,000 indexed videos has been built which officers assess and use to gather intelligence.
Its Social Media Hub consists of 17 staff and monitor digital channels for harmful content.
Since the launch of the Social Media Hub, 673 cases of gang-related online content have been identified. 107 videos have been referred to YouTube for removal - with 83 taken down. They have arrested 18 people.
Detective Superintendent Mike West said: "Gangs try to outrival each other with content - what looks like a music video can actually contain explicit language used by gangs to threaten each other. They can include gestures of violence, with hand signals suggesting they are firing weapons and graphic descriptions of what they would do to each other.
"The speed at which an online disagreement can escalate into violence, often very serious violence, is staggering. Music role models and social media have a hugely powerful and positive impact, but when used in the wrong way the consequences can quite literally be deadly.
"We are not seeking to suppress freedom of expression through any kind of music, and we only ask for videos to be removed from social media which we believe raise the risk of violence.
"We are working very closely with all social media companies to act more quickly to remove the most harmful material. Close partnership working is a key part of how we address this going forward and we will continue to work with a range of partners to explore how we can tackle the issue."
DS Jim McKee is currently appearing in a documentary about drill music and County Lines.