After protests erupted across the Middle East and Afghanistan blocked video sharing website and social media network YouTube, the site took off “Innocence of Muslims,” a film that claims to take a satirical view of Muslims, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and Islam.
Hundreds of protesters had stormed the US embassy in Cairo on Wednesday on news that a 13 minute clip of the two hour film, by Californian filmmaker Sam Bacile, would be screened at a church in Florida along with being streamed live on their website. On Wednesday, the US ambassador to Libya was killed when protesters attacked the Libyan embassy in Benghazi.
The film, made in 2011, was partly available on YouTube with short 90 second long trailers and an 11 minute clip from the film. YouTube removed the longer version clip and a message now greets viewers reading: “This video has been removed as a violation of YouTube’s policy against spam, scams, and commercially deceptive content.”
However, shorter trailers of the movie were still playable on the site.
The Afghan government on Wednesday banned YouTube from the country for the first time to prevent people from watching the anti-Islam film. “Following instructions by the ministry of information and culture, the ministry of communication has ordered all service providers to block YouTube access,” communications ministry official Aimal Marjan told AFP.
It was not known whether Afghan officials had unblocked the site after YouTube apparently complied with the requests.