All of the videos Elliott Rodger posted to YouTube in the months and days before the 22-year-old's killing rampage in Isla Vista, California, have been taken down as of Tuesday.
The last one, titled “Elliot Rodger’s Retribution” and layout out his grim plan, was uploaded to Google Inc.’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) video-sharing site less than 24 hours before Rodger began the mass stabbing/shooting spree, at 9:23 p.m. May 23, according to the New York Times.
In the video Rodger was seen saying, “This is my last video, it all has to come to this. Tomorrow is the day of retribution, the day in which I will have my revenge against humanity, against all of you."
It was removed by YouTube on Saturday after hundreds of thousands of views, prompted by the growing media coverage of the fatal rampage that left six dead and many more injured. A Google spokeswoman told the New York Times that that particular video was removed for violating YouTube’s guidelines that prohibit predatory behavior, stalking and threats.
Rodger reportedly posted at least 22 other disturbing videos on YouTube in addition to his "Retribution" video. However, all of them have been removed as of Tuesday, according to Forbes. Rodger wrote in his 140-page manifesto that he uploaded the videos in the week leading up to April 26, the original date he planned to carry out his attack plans, reported Fox News.
This isn’t the first time that YouTube, which prides itself for being a place for people to discover, watch, share and create video, has been caught with a controversial video on its site and then subsequently removed it as its notoriety grew. Among the widely viewed videos that YouTube recently removed is “Shovel Fight Girl,” which went viral in May, with users remixing the video and posting it to other social media sites.
While YouTube has several mechanisms for removing videos that violate their community guidelines, including users “flagging” objectionable videos, it doesn’t always remove content in response to controversy. For nearly two years, a controversial anti-Islamic film titled “Innocence of Muslims,” existed on the video sharing site despite massive protests. It was only after Google received an order by an U.S. appeals court, that the controversial film was eventually removed from YouTube.
The video-sharing site has often faced the predicament of balancing newsworthiness against video content that violates its community guidelines and terms of service. In February 2014, for example, video captured from a Syrian rebel assault was posted on the site, then removed by Google for violating the policy on violence, and then subsequently reinstated with a content warning.
Despite the increasing speed at which videos get taken down from YouTube -- for reasons ranging from videos violating copyright to videos violating community guidelines -- they often find their way back on to the Web through a number of video sites, such as Liveleak.