ISIS Banned From Controversial Video Site LiveLeak After James Foley Execution Video

IsisREUTERS/StringerFighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) stand guard at a checkpoint in the northern Iraq city of Mosul, June 11, 2014.

Controversial video hosting site LiveLeak has taken the unprecedented step of banning ISIS from uploading content after a video showing the execution of American journalist James Foley warned of future beheading videos.

In a blog post, LiveLeak explained that any future ISIS execution videos would be immediately removed. The site’s founders stated: “We’ve shown the world the true horror of this form of execution more than once in the past and we cannot find any compelling reason to even be thought of as promoting the actions of this group.”

LiveLeak claims that the ISIS ban is prompted by the potential for a wave of beheading videos triggered by rumours of a “stockpile” of hostages held by the group. Acknowledging that the site’s users are almost universally critical of ISIS, LiveLeak’s founders declared there was “no reason” to allow the militant group to continued to showcase their executions.

Unlike YouTube, it’s rare for LiveLeak to remove high profile videos. While the site does police pornographic content, it has built a reputation for allowing users to view and share graphic videos. In 2008, however, an anti-Islam documentary named Fitna was uploaded to LiveLeak and quickly removed by the site after staff received death threats. Fitna was later re-uploaded after LiveLeak increased security.

Existing since at least 2002, LiveLeak was originally a far more explicit “gore porn” site known as Ogrish. In 2005 the site was blocked in Germany, the Netherlands, France, Poland and Switzerland after German internet regulators grew concerned over the graphic footage available. Ogrish was rebranded LiveLeak in 2006 after being forced to remove racial slurs and many of its community features.

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