CamdenNewJournal

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YouTube remove films taunting relatives of Camden’s knife murder victims

Councillors told youth violence is being exacerbated by the use of 'drill' music

29 March, 2018 — By William McLennan

Fowsiya Abdi has lost two sons to stabbings in the last six months

A MUSIC video which mocked the families of two young men stabbed to death in Camden was posted online, it has been revealed as fresh concerns are raised about the role of social media in escalating levels of youth violence.

Youth workers have said that videos, defined as being a hip-hop sub-genre called “drill”, were being used to “threaten and provoke individuals and groups from rival areas”. Abdikadir Ahmed, of Somali Youth Develop­ment Resource Centre, said that young people in Camden had told him they felt that “the level of youth violence is being exacerbated by the use of drill music”.

Mr Ahmed said a video “taunting family members and those that have lost members of their community on February 20” was removed after being reported to YouTube this week. Several tracks, report­ing to be from gangs in Camden and Islington, each with thousands of views, have been uploaded to the website. They share a recurring theme of boasting about the use of Rambo-style hunting knives.

Mr Ahmed, one of the speakers at Monday’s full council meeting, said: “Social media platforms need to do a lot more to tackle this issue.”

Abdikadir Ahmed at Monday’s full council meeting

An investigation by social enterprise Catch22 last year into the role of social media as a “catalyst and trigger” for youth violence identified concerns around drill music, but warned: “A clear distinction must be made between the vast majority of music videos that simply provide a raw reflection of the realities of young people’s lives and a much smaller number of videos that go well beyond this.”

Beth Murray, of Catch22, said: “We are not linking drill with criminal activity. We are, however, saying that some criminal activity is expressed through drill.” Ms Murray said that, rather than only looking towards tech giants for help, “work can be done to make sure young people are not influenced by what they see online”.

She added: “This is the first generation that has grown up entirely online, so nobody has trained them because nobody knew this was going to be a challenge.” Parents should pay close attention to children’s online life. “Have meaningful conversations with your kids about what they are doing online. Just because they are at home doesn’t mean they are not still involved online,” she said.

A spokeswoman for YouTube said: “We do not allow videos that are abusive or that promote violence. We work closely with organisations like the Met Police who understand and provide relevant context for videos, and we act quickly to review and remove them when they violate our policies. “We have developed policies specifically to help tackle knife and gang crime. We continue to work closely with police and community groups to tackle this issue.”

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