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4/8/2008
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Videotaped Florida Teen Beating Prompts Calls To Block Violent Content

Local authorities are also calling on sites like MySpace and YouTube to stop allowing users to upload similar disturbing videos.

The parents of a Florida teen who has lost her hearing and sight after she was attacked by other teens want video-enhanced Web sites like MySpace and YouTube to stop allowing users to post videos of such beatings.

Six other teens reportedly beat 16-year-old Victoria Lindsay on March 30, recorded it, and threatened to post the video on the two top visited sites. The local sheriff is also calling on the Web sites to stop allowing users to upload videos of beatings.

The teen has not fully recovered her hearing and sight one week after the videotaped beating, according to reports in The Ledger, in Lakeland, Fla.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd told The Ledger that the girls had argued on MySpace and in text messages before the half-hour beating.

An affidavit from Judd's office said two teens confronted Lindsay as she arrived at a friend's home, where she had been staying temporarily. Another teen confronted when she entered her bedroom and the girls barricaded themselves inside, according to the affidavit. The girls beat Lindsay and one of them knocked Lindsay's head into the wall, causing her to lose consciousness, according to police reports.

The report states that the victim awoke on a couch and the beating resumed. The teens then put Lindsay in a car belonging to one of the perpetrator's grandmothers, drove the battered victim around, and dumped her off at an intersection, according to the affidavit.

Lindsay told police that the girls bragged as they beat her and recorded it and threatened to post the video on MySpace and YouTube. An investigator obtained one video and said it showed Lindsay being severely beaten, unable to escape.

A segment posted on the Orlando Sentinel's Web site shows one girl repeatedly hitting and punching Lindsay although Lindsay, backed into a corner, covered her head, and did not fight back. The girls can be heard yelling about MySpace, text messages, and making this 17 seconds of the video "good."

The video has ignited concerns over posting inappropriate content, especially violent ones involving minors.

A YouTube spokesperson said the company doesn't comment on individual videos, and the video of the beating was never uploaded. The spokesperson said the community polices the site and flags content they find inappropriate.

"Once it is flagged, YouTube promptly reviews the content and removes it from the system if it is in violation of our Community Guidelines," the spokesperson continued. "Real violence on YouTube is not allowed. If a video shows someone getting 'hurt, attacked, or humiliated,' it will be removed."

A MySpace employee confirmed that the video was never uploaded to that site either. MySpace has a dedicated content review team that examines every video and image before they are posted to ensure that users do not violate the terms of use, the employee said. Several of those involved in the beating do have profiles on MySpace, although many are set to private. Employees from the social networking site are working with authorities investigating the beating.

This article was edited on April 8 to include comments from MySpace and YouTube.

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