I attempted to gather some objective data on this by looking up the Arabic version of the video on the Internet Wayback Machine in the hope of finding how many views/comments it had before Sept 11, but had no luck. Its URL was www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsGPOTpU-dU, if you know of, or have access, to other suitable research resources.
The closest I have to any indication is a NYT article from Sept 11, 2012
, when the video was still online in its original form, and a reporter could have seen relevant numbers. From that article:
Given the state of internet connectivity, I find it highly implausible that it was copied and *hosted* tens of thousands of times, when YouTube was already hosting it on one of the world's highest capacity public video networks for free. I take it that the author meant to indicate that s/he estimated that it was viewed 10,000s of times more -- possibly by CD. I can't imagine how this number could be anything but a guess, given the private nature of CD or other personal copies, but it does suggest that the "Viewed" number on the YouTube page was such that "tens of thousands" was a significant enough addition to justify making the guess. The English version, for example, currently stands at almost 5 million (the article states that it was all but ignored during the relevant timeframe), so guessing at "tens of thousands" of added views would be meaningless, especially since it *was* widely hosted on countless major media websites after the attack.
From this context, I would guess that the YouTube view counter stood somewhere in the 1000s or 10,000s, not 100,000s or millions
I leave it to you to decide whether my logic is plausible (It doesn't meet my criteria for proof) and whether 10K-100K views worldwide would be enough to spark an attack in that modest locale.
A Google search for articles mentioning riots, Benghazi and YouTube, posted during Sept 1-10
, turned up only 12,300 hits, and few mentioned this video (e.g. they referred to YouTube videos OF riots), and I find the dates highly suspect on the few I checked that did mention this cause for riots in Benghazi, since they also mentioned the attack which hadn't yet taken place.
Perhaps someone else is interested enough in objective facts to look more closely at those search results for confirmatory evidence (or its absence). Regrettably, I simply don't have the time -- but prior evidence of such film-inspired riots would be much more interesting than the endless post facto
media echos, spin and recycling I see on the web and the large media outlets
Back issues of international papers, either in local libraries or online, could resolve this quickly.