This is a rather worrying story. Google is awaiting confirmation from Italian courts that four of its employees will face trial there for failing to stop a video being uploaded that shows a disabled kid getting bullied. Sources claim that they stand accused of defamation and failure to exercise control over personal data.
The video in question shows, over the course of three minutes, four kids harassing a kid with Down’s Syndrome, and hitting him over the head with a pack of tissues. It was posted back in September 2006, and Google removed it within a day after it received a complaint, but that wasn’t good enough, claim prosecutors. It gained about 12,000 views.
Google, for their part, say that they haven’t been informed of the exact charges, and are disappointed that they leaked to the media before being officially told themselves. Google also argue that Europe’s E-commerce Directive exempts service providers from prescreening content before it is publicly posted, and the offending video was uploaded to a server in the US, not one in Italy.
Let’s hope that Italy does the smart thing and acquits the executives. The resources should be used to track down the four bullies and take action against them, instead. With the ridiculous amount of content uploaded to YouTube, it’s impossible to expect Google to monitor every single item in this kind of detail.