Would Age Verification Help to Limit the Influence of Violent Messaging in Drill Music?
Could Age Verification Help Limit the Influence of Violent Messaging in Drill Music?
Drill music recently hit the headlines when UK Police asked YouTube to take down over 30 videos featuring the music of West London drill group 1011. The police were attempting to damp down escalating violence between rival gangs and 1011’s violent lyrics were seen as an incitement. They are now subject to a Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) and are required to inform police when performing or uploading their music.
What is Drill Music?
Drill went mainstream back in 2012; the name refers to gangster slang for automatic weapons back in Chicago where it originated. UK drill artists rap about gang lifestyles, and use gritty, nihilistic lyrics to describe gang culture and its origins in poverty-stricken inner-city environments across Britain. The genre is characterised by the eruption of disputes between artists, and the glorification of violence accompanied by graphic gestures and images.
Does Drill Add to Knife Violence?
In May 2018 the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick, went so far as to accuse drill of fuelling gang culture and knife crime in the UK. She blamed the incendiary lyrics which she accused of “glamourising violence, serious violence – murder, stabbings – they describe the stabbings in great detail, with great joy and excitement.” She concluded the interview with a plea to social media platforms to act responsibly when monitoring posts.
Could YouTube Do More?
In response to the Police Commissioner’s comments, YouTube released a response:
“We have developed policies specifically to help tackle videos related to knife crime in the UK and are continuing to work constructively with experts on this issue.”
YouTube has an age restriction policy for videos that contain violence, nudity and bad language; you have to be 18 years old and logged in to access this kind of material. Whilst this is a welcome step in the right direction, there is currently no age verification check in place for subscribers opening a new account making it all too easy for young people to lie about their age, or use a proxy.
AgeChecked for a More Responsible Social Media
AgeChecked offers a simple, streamlined method for online vendors, or social media platforms to achieve age verification at the point of access. Subscribers or buyers are asked to prove their age using one of a list of options to do so. Once verified, an account is created which allows for ongoing speedy password access to age-restricted videos. This simple solution could be an important component in restricting the influence of drill on young people.