Thursday, 14 December, 2017

YouTube to redirect "terror" searches

Google's Jigsaw technology effort aims to thwart extremist content Google's Jigsaw technology effort aims to thwart extremist content
Clarence Schmidt | 22 July, 2017, 00:50

Yesterday, the company announced it will work with Jigsaw to use search redirects to steer impressionable people curious about terrorism and violent extremist propaganda to videos that debunk that rhetoric.

The move will blacklist a glossary of unspecified terror-related keywords, referring individuals using the search terms to a curated playlist of videos created to "debunk violent extremist recruiting narratives".

But as Walker explained in his June post, the company was "pledging to take four additional steps" as it worked to actively combat extremism on its platform: It was stepping up technological-identification of terrorist videos, increasing human flagging of such content, more aggressively some videos that don't directly violate the terms of service, and "expand [ing] its role in counter-radicalisation efforts".

Apparently it seems to be working as a pilot program for the Redirect Method led to 320,000 individuals viewing "over half a million minutes of the 116 videos we selected to refute ISIS's recruiting themes". Going forward, YouTube plans to grow the list of search queries so that it can also redirect users who are searching the platform in languages other than English.

The video streaming giant will also develop video content of its own created to counter extremist narratives at every stage of indoctrination.

Google's Jigsaw team has been working with Moonshot CVE, a company that works with clients to counter "violent extremism", to develop the Redirect Method. Earlier this year, many advertisers began pulling their business from YouTube after discovering their ads played on videos promoting terrorism and extremist content.

The company would use machine learning to dynamically update the search query terms.

While superficially commendable, the Redirect Method does raise the specter of intervention and censorship. This may not be enough to stop terrorists from using YouTube as a recruitment platform, but it's clear Google is taking the problem seriously. Google says it will measure success based on the amount of engagement the debunking videos get from the Redirect Method.

Online extremism has plagued online outlets including Google and YouTube.

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