Monday, September 15, 2008

YouTube Purge – Like Whack A Mole, But Less Fun

The San Jose Mercury News ran an Associated Press story “YouTube to purge terrorist and other videos inciting violence” ( The article essentially explained that Google will “rely on users to report objectionable videos”.

The use of video via the Internet is an explosive and viral phenomenon. It is an incredibly cost effective graphic media requiring little or not capital equipment. Furthermore given the rate of video additions to YouTube (13 hours every couple of minutes according to the article or about 400 hours of videos every clock hour) it would be impossible to find, much less eliminate the objectionable videos.

The Internet will remain a key means for Al Qaeda and others to recruit and share information. Over time, I believe that mobile phones will supplant PC and laptop access as the main vehicle for sharing information and recruitment. Mobile phones have a great rate of acceptance in developing countries and are far more available and less visible than Internet access via cafes, etc.

The key challenge for PSYOP today is to ‘skate to the puck’ a sports metaphor (which I usually avoid) meaning to go to where the target will be, not where it is now. We in the PSYOP community need to be on top of the latest techniques of mobile phone habits and be prepared to pounce on this media based on its importance in target analysis.

This will require a level of technical competence and international perspective heretofore unparalleled in PSYOP efforts and will likely require the concerted efforts of a younger generation to bring to fruition.

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