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YouTube Refuses To Remove Terrorist Videos 676

Posted by kdawson
from the how-the-interwebs-work dept.
hhavensteincw writes "YouTube has declined a request from Sen. Joe Lieberman remove videos from terrorist organizations. Lieberman said that the videos made by groups like Al-Qaeda show assassinations, attacks on US soldiers leading to injuries and death, and weapons training, 'incendiary' speeches, and other material intended to 'encourage violence against the West.' YouTube said that while it removed some of the videos highlighted by the Senator, most were allowed to stay because they did not violate YouTube's community guidelines. YouTube went on to note that they are strong supporters of free speech."
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YouTube Refuses To Remove Terrorist Videos

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  • Tarrists! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Bovius (1243040) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @06:18PM (#23483622)
    Google is clearly acting in support of terrorism and is therefore itself a terrorist organization. We need to drop some injunction on that.
    • Re:Tarrists! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bovius (1243040) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @06:46PM (#23484052)
      Wow. I guess slashdotters don't appreciate sarcasm today. Let's see if I can be more straightforward:

      By hosting videos from terrorist organizations, YouTube could be construed as providing communication for terrorists, which constitutes material support for terrorists. In some previous cases of alleged material support for terrorism, the government has acted aggressively (example) [wikipedia.org]. Of course this case will be handled differently, because Google is a well known organization commonly in the public eye, but I suspect the US would be much more aggressive about this "request" if it were a lesser known company. I think applying the law evenly to all potential offenders would expose the problems with current laws.
    • Smoking crater (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mrmeval (662166)
      They pulled down yalla ya Nasrallah for a while so they do not have clean hands.

      http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=268395414333521428 [google.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @06:19PM (#23483630)
    Let us decide what we can watch. Don't censor anything, please?
    • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@nOsPAm.beau.org> on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @07:20PM (#23484574)
      > Don't censor anything, please?

      Too late. Google/YouTube has been censoring anything that 'insults Islam', they deem to be 'hate speech (they don't like/disagree with it)' and several other catagories beyond their strict legal obligations. So now they take a firm stand for free speech when it comes to protecting terrorists. But post a conservative video and watch how how few complaints it takes to get it yanked.

      Folks, Google crossed the 'Don't be Evil.' line years back.
  • Bravo! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by azzuth (1177007) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @06:19PM (#23483632)
    but how long till they buckle?
    • by davidsyes (765062) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @07:03PM (#23484284) Homepage Journal
      Hell, every single time the US apparatus kills a non-merkun, that is animosity generated SOMEwhere, and it puts a fucking bulls eye on MY back. Going to wrong place, or just having visible a US passport not only increases the risk of being accosted, grabbed, or killed (not to mention having prices jacked up at the sound of my voice or sight of my gait or clothing or body language) makes me a target, NOT solely because of the passport but for being called a 'merkun.

      A life is a life, at the individual level. It's only different for those who have bigger guns, pussies for a population, and laws to jail or contain those who speak out.

      LET ME DECIDE what I'll watch. So far, to my recollection, i have YET to bother watching the beheading of any nationality. Not out of respect for the dead, but just because of personal preference to not make it a thing to do or repeat.

      If the USA doesn't want to see 'merkuns coming home in body bags nor be executed/murdered/butchered, then all it has to do is stop bombing, stop killing, and stop strong-arming and stop acting as if people who have grievances against the US don't have to right to get some rep. The more repugnant the public finds the ACT of murder (as opposed to recoiling over the mere existence of a video that depicts the murder) then maybe the more backbone the 'merkun people will grow out of concern for it's IMAGE.

      Right now, we do NOT deserve that much respect. Plain fuckin' period. Trinkets, bravado, money, power, guns, steel, rockets, and freedom for me don't mean SHIT when some asshole decides to kill in my name, steal in my name, plunder in my name, and risk my well being to keep goods rolling and oil flowing when MOST of the bullshit is something i OUGHT not be buying in the first place, or certainly could buy less of it.

      There. I speak for myself, even if others agree. Sometimes, I'll assert my opinion has a moral priority over others', and with or without agreement, i will stand my ground. Don't FUCKING KILL in MY name and expect me to ignore it or forgive it or play like every single one of the attacked was wrong or was a threat to ME or even "the system". Otherwise, the populace deserves to be wiped out by plague, pestilence, famine, nature, or even any pot-shot-taking ETs that happen to notice our repugnant leaders and, worse, our general total ineffectiveness to reign in the corrupt.

      Congress and the Senate need to remember that when you tell someone NOT to see a movie, they go see it. Assigning an R-Rating to a movie or film just increases viewership. Leaving it UNRATED might do even more to increase viewership.
  • Hypocritical? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by amrik98 (1214484) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @06:19PM (#23483640)
    They seem to have no problem removing videos related to Scientology.
    • by omnichad (1198475) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @06:20PM (#23483658) Homepage
      Are you surprised? They're the one group more messed up than the terrorist organizations.
      • Re:Hypocritical? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by de Selby (167520) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @06:36PM (#23483894)
        I think you misunderstand. They remove videos critical of Scientology. I remember seeing one video produced by the "religion" featured on the YouTube homepage.

        Featuring such a video does look nearly hypocritical to me. A related problem fresh on my mind is YouTube's habit of suspending good accounts. It looks like most everything is automated, so people need only attract a few malicious trolls to get the boot. With so many people getting suspended and so many videos being pulled under false pretenses, it's just strange to see them taking a stand like this. It's strange to see them paying attention to the content they're hosting.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anpheus (908711)
          Don't overreact, Scientology has strongarmed many large organizations into removing material under threat of copyright infringement, and Google/Youtube would not be the first to follow up on the DMCA requests filed by Scientology. Moreover, unless the people whose videos were petitioned to be removed file counter-DMCA requests, Google cannot "man up" and defend them. If they ignore one DMCA request in the interest of not doing evil, they can become legally responsible for that material. This vastly increase
    • Re:Hypocritical? (Score:5, Informative)

      by TheSpoom (715771) * <slashdot@@@uberm00...net> on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @06:38PM (#23483934) Homepage Journal
      The DMCA (or specifically, DMCA Title II, OCILLA [wikipedia.org]) legally requires them to take down the material when a copyright claim is put forward, such as the ones the Church of Scientology / RTC sends, in order to avoid any legal liability due to the safe harbor provisions in the law. The person who then posted the video can send a counter-notice to YouTube to get them to put the video back up; it's then a matter for the courts to decide (and if the person claiming infringement does go to the courts, the material stays down until they have ruled on the matter).

      IANAL, this is not legal advice, this is just how I understand it. You can't blame YouTube for wanting to keep their service provider safe harbor limited liability; otherwise, they'd be sued out of existence every time someone posted a music video.
  • The guidelines (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @06:20PM (#23483656)
    Directly from youtube's guidelines:

    # Don't post videos showing bad stuff like animal abuse, drug abuse, or bomb making.
    # Graphic or gratuitous violence is not allowed. If your video shows someone getting hurt, attacked, or humiliated, don't post it.
    # YouTube is not a shock site. Don't post gross-out videos of accidents, dead bodies and similar things.

    http://www.youtube.com/t/community_guidelines

    Free speech hypocrites
    • Re:The guidelines (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Carthag (643047) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @06:26PM (#23483742) Homepage
      perhaps the removed videos were the ones with beheadings and the ones that are still there are the ones with i dunno terrorist training camps & osama bin laden speeches & other anti-american propaganda.

      kinda hard to tell without a list of them, but if this is the case, i dont see a problem at all.
      • Re:The guidelines (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Original Replica (908688) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @07:03PM (#23484286) Journal
        perhaps the removed videos were the ones with beheadings and the ones that are still there are the ones with i dunno terrorist training camps & osama bin laden speeches & other Anti-American propaganda.

        I think the ones with the beheadings and stonings and abuse of women are the most important to keep. They show the true face of Militant Islam and Sharia Law. It's easy to make a convincing Anti-American propaganda video, we make lots of mistakes and some of them are quite shameful (Gitmo and Katrina come to mind) but let not forget to closely examine what our critics are proposing to replace our imperfect America with.

        Someone needs to pull Lieberman aside explain to him meaning of "the only thing you have to fear is fear itself." Fight lies and propaganda with truth and transparency, not secrets and censorship.
  • Phew.. (Score:3, Funny)

    by neoform (551705) <djneoform@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @06:20PM (#23483670) Homepage
    At least I'm still able to post terrorist videos. I was starting to get worried when I had all my anti-scientology videos removed.
  • This is bullshit. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MindlessAutomata (1282944) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @06:22PM (#23483698)
    Bullshit, not because they won't remove videos, but because youtube is notorious for removing "offensive" material--whether it's insulting women or even something like bashing religion, presumably because people don't like having their dogmas trampled-- or just plain removing material on rather spurious grounds, and I'm not even talking about removing videos wrongly due to DMCA complaints.

    Of course they'll leave up terrorist videos because it'll get them more hits.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Das Modell (969371)
      YouTube has removed many anti-Jihad videos and videos critical of Islam, which means that they have a political agenda. A very fucked up one.
      • by corbettw (214229) <corbettw@yaho o . com> on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @07:21PM (#23484594) Journal
        Thank you, this can't be said often enough. YouTube has no problem leaving up videos from Islamists and neonazis calling for the destruction of Israel and the subjugation of women, Christians, pagans, and pretty much anyone else who doesn't follow those groups agendas. But post one video detailing what those groups believe, and your account will get turned off before you can say "Godwin".
  • by Animaether (411575) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @06:24PM (#23483718) Journal
    Title: YouTube Refuses To Remove Terrorist Videos
    Summary: YouTube [...] removed some of the videos

    Did the same person actually write both, or what?
    New Title: YouTube Refuses To Remove Some Terrorist Videos

    or...

    New Title: YouTube Refuses To Remove Most Terrorist Videos

    Then again, wth is a "terrorist video"? A video with terrorists in it? A video with a religious leader spouting extremist ideas in it? What?

    Anyway... the ones that -were- removed where apparently removed for violating YouTube's own community 'rules';
    "Senator Lieberman's staff identified numerous videos that they believed violated YouTube's Community Guidelines. In response to his concerns, we examined and ended up removing a number of videos from the site, primarily because they depicted gratuitous violence, advocated violence, or used hate speech. Most of the videos, which did not contain violent or hate speech content, were not removed because they do not violate our Community Guidelines." - http://www.axcessnews.com/index.php/articles/show/id/16037 [axcessnews.com]

    Sounds 'sane' enough (not too sure about the hate speech thing, but if YouTube comments are any indication, I wouldn't want to see the insult-and-flamefest that youtube would become if every 13-year old could spout their hatred for another YouTube user in a video.
  • by Dunbal (464142) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @06:26PM (#23483734)
    A few years ago I used to laugh at news like this coming from the US. But now, I just shake my head. It's not funny anymore.
  • by melted (227442) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @06:28PM (#23483768) Homepage
    You can't post a video with two people having consentual sex. Yet you can post videos showing violence, inciting hatred and bragging about terrorist attacks.

    Personally, I think that if we allow terrorist videos, then at the very least pr0n should be allowed, too. :-)
  • political stunt (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chris Snook (872473) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @06:30PM (#23483788)
    This smells like a stunt. Lieberman was probably expecting them to refuse him entirely, and use that to incite outrage to further his agenda. It looks like Youtube saw through it, and took the responsible course of action by fairly applying their community standards. Now Lieberman will have to openly admit that he wants to limit free speech if he wants to push this further, because he can't claim that they're unfairly supporting one viewpoint by keeping the majority of the content which did not violate the standards.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by forkazoo (138186)

      This smells like a stunt. Lieberman was probably expecting them to refuse him entirely, and use that to incite outrage to further his agenda. It looks like Youtube saw through it, and took the responsible course of action by fairly applying their community standards. Now Lieberman will have to openly admit that he wants to limit free speech if he wants to push this further, because he can't claim that they're unfairly supporting one viewpoint by keeping the majority of the content which did not violate the

  • by caereth (645984) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @06:31PM (#23483810)
    Well, there are also many videos showing Iraqi's getting mowed down by various US weapons. Bombs, cannons, and so on. What do people who want to remove "terrorist" videos want to do with these?
  • by CorporalKlinger (871715) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @06:31PM (#23483822)
    Google didn't seem to have much support for freedom of speech when they assisted the government of India in locating a man who posted a profane picture of the Hindu saint Shivaji, as reported yesterday on Slashdot. [slashdot.org] Strong supporters of freedom of speech indeed - right up until the protection of a user's right to freedom of speech threatens to strain Google's political relationships with distant countries where labor and data center construction are cheap.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Fastolfe (1470)
      Do you have any idea what would happen to Google or its employees in many of these countries if they were to refuse to obey a lawful demand for information?
    • by ADRA (37398) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @07:16PM (#23484514)
      If I owned a multinational enterprise and as such, am bound by the laws of the country I do business in, I would definitly behave differently from country to country. If I don't like the country's privacy laws (or lack thereof) its my choice to stop doing business there. It isn't my right to break their laws based on my own egocentric view of the world.

      I don't know the case that happened in India, but if the indian police issued a -legal- subpoena for the offender's identifying information, I wouldn't break their laws since it would probably mean:
            1. huge fines
            2. complete bar from doing business in the country

  • by readin (838620) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @06:32PM (#23483844)
    Free speech is always important, but we always have limits. In a time of war, when we're asking young men and women to risk their right to life, is it too much to ask that we take away the free speech of people who are encouraging the killing of not only those men and women, but of ourselves and our friends?

    Can't Youtube voluntarily add something to their guidelines like "Don't post stuff that supports terrorism or undermines the national security of the country where Youtube is located? The global economy is nice, but they're still Americans and those soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are still dying for them, and the Youtube owners are still as much targets of the terrorists as the people in the Twin Towers and the United airplanes were.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jedidiah (1196)
      Well in "real war" you have a very well defined enemy. Such a
      genuine war would make it much more easy to sort out who's who.
      The current undeclared war against no one in particular makes
      sorting out of the usual "aid and comfort to the enemy" more
      difficult.

      There isn't any enemy capitol for young hollywood starlets to
      go to so they can pose on an enemy tank...
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @06:57PM (#23484206)
      ...is it too much to ask that we take away the free speech of people...

      Yes.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SpinyNorman (33776)
      Broadcasting terrorist videos isn't a matter of free speech - it's a matter of supporting terrorism. Of course the American TV networks do the same thing by eagerly broadcasting bin Laden's videos for him as fast as he provides them, but one might have expected a bit better from Google/YouTube.

      Maybe Google doesn't consider supporting terrorism to be evil?

      The other interesting thing to note is that Bush, despite all the constitutionally protected rights he's willing to trample over, still apparently thinks i
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by FatMacDaddy (878246)
      Yes, we always have limits, but the devil's in the details as they say. For example, do you think you can institute a rule like "undermines the national security" with any degree of agreement on what constitutes undermining? If posting these videos undermines the country, does not it also undermine the country to reveal corruption and illegal activities in our own government?

      While I have sympathy for what you'd like to achieve, the freedoms involved are too fundamental to be manipulated like that. Suppress

    • by rthille (8526) <web-slashdot.rangat@org> on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @08:33PM (#23485618) Homepage Journal
      Finally, someplace where this quote is appropriate:
      "Sir, why do you hate America?"

      See, The point of freedom of speech isn't for the stuff you like. It's for the stuff you hate, that makes you want to puke or hurt someone. That's the kind of speech that the first amendment is designed to protect.

      So, please, go and read the Constitution and realize that the government isn't there to change your wetnaps and wipe your nose, it's there to protect you against real violence. Speech isn't violence and shouldn't be treated as such.
      • by readin (838620) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @09:42PM (#23486314)
        I don't hate America; I realize that America has a long time of curtailing freedoms during wartime, and even outside of wartime, for the sake of national defense so that freedoms can be protected.

        Did you know, for example, that the people in our "volunteer military" aren't allowed to leave if they change their minds? Outside of national defense, this would be considered a form of slavery and would not be permitted. You can't sell yourself into slavery or even rent yourself into slavery as a civilian. But when you joint the military, that's essentially what you are.

        And for most of our history when our freedoms have been threatened by violence, we've resorted to pressing young men into involuntary servitude to do difficult and dangerous work. And yes, one of the freedoms they lose when that happens is freedom of speech.

        This youtube thing wouldn't be a complete revocation of free speech, but would be measured in response to the threats we face.
    • by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @09:49PM (#23486366)

      Free speech is always important, but we always have limits. In a time of war, when we're asking young men and women to risk their right to life, is it too much to ask that we take away the free speech of people who are encouraging the killing of not only those men and women, but of ourselves and our friends?
      Ask yourself why these men and women are risking their lives. Part of the reason is in defense of the US Constitution. I say this because I believe it. I was Active Duty while (arguably) this mess began - the Gulf War, the bombing of Khobar Towers (Dharahn used to be the cushy TDY before that). And while I did what I did for money, family, and friends... I also swore to defend the US Constitution.

      It irks me to no end when people wrap themselves in the flag while failing to uphold the very core values that makes the US great. Even worse is when they actively erode those values - work to undermine our basic rights - undo the US Constitution.
  • by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @06:33PM (#23483856) Homepage
    I spent a year in Iraq as a US soldier.

    I found the insurgent videos to be, well lacking in their musical choice. However, they provided an excellent view into the operations of the insurgents. We sometimes would watch them just to get a better idea about them.

    And the Uhm Kfar (spelling?) video did have some hella tight beats.

    You know...once this whole world-struggle for ideologies (this really isn't about Iraq, as far as the insurgents see it) is over, we are gonna sit down, have some beers, and play our videos together, and laugh about the old times.

    They are going to post their videos on some site... we certainly post ours. Why shouldn't a US company get the ad revenue?

  • Easy. (Score:5, Funny)

    by zx-15 (926808) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @06:37PM (#23483914)
    The US government should patent terrorism and then Liberman could sue YouTube for copyright infringement. Google would take down the videos immediately.
  • Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Deanalator (806515) <pierce403@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @06:55PM (#23484176) Homepage
    I hadn't even noticed that Hamas had so many videos on youtube.
    Those interested should check out http://youtube.com/watch?v=U8Nj-QKQkCo [youtube.com] and related videos.

    Also an interesting movie I watched recently was "suicide killers". It contains many interviews with suicide bombers right before they kill themselves, and many interviews with failed suicide bombers in Israeli prisons.

    http://www.amazon.com/Suicide-Killers-Pierre-Rehov/dp/B000NVHWIE [amazon.com]
    http://www.mininova.org/tor/635799 [mininova.org]

    Maybe I am just strange, but I find it absolutely fascinating how a group of people can have such a strong hatred of Israel. It's a really fucked up situation for both sides, but I think it is very important for both sides to be heard.
    • Re:Interesting (Score:4, Insightful)

      by hyfe (641811) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @10:23PM (#23486696)

      Maybe I am just strange, but I find it absolutely fascinating how a group of people can have such a strong hatred of Israel.
      That one's really easy.

      Take a look at a map. Find Israel. Nice, small country, eh? Then find Gaza and west-bank on the map.. and then stop to think for a few seconds. Put aside your feelings, old thoughts on who did what to who when and why, push the horror-stories away.. and just stop to consider the underlying basics in this conflict...

      .. because in the end, what you're left with is this; There are 'provinces' (or states) in Israel, where the inhabitants have no legal rights. Nobody recognizes them as seperate states, they have no control over their own air-space or their own borders, and they have no voting rights in the nation they're supposed to belong to according to the map.

      In other words, apartheid. It's that simple. The current situation is completely amoral and completely unacceptable. Israel should either work on incorporating the occupied terrorities into their own state, or work on getting the hell out.. and I'm absolutely flabbergasted we're actually trading with them. They should have been trade-boycotted to hell and back a long time ago.

  • by SquierStrat (42516) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @07:19PM (#23484568) Homepage
    Free speech is fine: the GOVERNMENT/STATE should never forbid speech of any kind (with the reasonable restriction on things like child pornography et cetera.)

    A private organization saying hey we won't allow mass murders to post propaganda on our site is not the same. I am willing to bet YouTube would feel different if the US Gov't posted overt propaganda videos on YouTube.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Fluffeh (1273756)

      should never forbid speech of any kind (with the reasonable restriction on things
      Your statement sums up the entire crux of this debate. What is okay for one person/race/group may not be the same for people/races/groups.

      I wonder what the muslim world would say if the US posted a video or two of some captured arab getting his head hacked off while the US soldiers around what was happening oozed with anti arab sentiment.
  • by MrSteveSD (801820) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @07:22PM (#23484598)
    Yet the US continues to harbour Luis Posada Carriles, who is suspect of bombing a Cuban airliner. Venezuela has been trying to get him extradited for years, but the US refuses. The last time a country refused to hand over suspected terrorists, it was invaded as a result. That country was of course, Afghanistan.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by geekoid (135745)
      I believe we have permission to be there, so it wasn't an invasion.
      Iraq is another matter.
  • Outrageous (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Eravnrekaree (467752) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @08:11PM (#23485344)
    I am deeply disturbed that the US government is censoring information. This shows that the US government is now operating in total defiance of the US constitution and of human rights, along with the fact it is now engaging in torture of prisoners and indefinite detainments without trail and charges and so on. No government should be allowed to censor information or violate human rights in other ways. We should not allow a government to decide what people can and cant look at. Once we allow this, there is little stop this from getting more and more unreasonable. One minute it could be terrorist videos, another minute it could be videos say uncovering toxic pollution of the environment by a company (this, according to the increasingly vague definition of terrorism, I am sure could eventually be called a terrorist act because it threatens corporate profits and tries to alert the public so they will demand the government stop the pollution).

    Free speech is a very important right and why the drafters of the US constitution did not include any provision for it to be suspended. This is because it is difficult to define what is bad law or a good law in a constitution. The founders understood that if there are unjust laws in the books, that with free speech the people have an opportunity to help abolish bad laws. Its obviously a bad law to place a $500 fine on jaywalking but difficult to draft a constitution that is able to explicitely prohibit all kinds of such bad legislation.

    Governments role is not to decide what we are allowed to look at and to control speech. We see the government increasingly doing things it has no business doing, such as invading our privacy and censorship, and engaging in illegal wars, and doing less of what it should be doing and that is helping people who are in need through health care, affordable housing, employment and unemployement insurance, and so on. We need to demand government stop the censorship, the torture, the surveillance to create a prison state to enslave people and start serving the people again and truly protecting peoples freedom, which does not mean censorship torture, and in other ways taking away peoples freedoms and so on.

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