YouTube is continuing its crackdown on extremist content by redirecting searches for terrorist articles and videos to a playlist of clips that denounce hatred. The tech giant said that the move is designed to prevent vulnerable people from being radicalised online.
Google will use a blacklist of specific keywords in search terms to refer users to a selection of videos “debunking” the mythology promoted by terror groups. It is also aiming to publish its own content in the future to counter extremist narratives in a further attempt to reduce the chances of an individual being indoctrinated.
Google has been under increasing pressure during the last 12 months to combat the rise of content containing violence, hate speech and extremism. A high-profile debacle earlier this year led to a number of major brands boycotting the platform amid fears that their creative endeavours were being placed next to extremist clips.
While the latest measure is primarily aimed at educating and informing users online by offering counterpoints to those regularly presented by terror groups, it should also make YouTube safer again for brands and advertisers, many of whom have to yet to return to the video-sharing site.
Think tank Jigsaw has worked with anti-extremism organisation Moonshot to create the new tool, which it calls the “Redirect Method,” and YouTube is set to roll out the functionality across the globe in the coming weeks. It will initially be limited to search terms in English, but other languages, including Arabic, will be added in the coming months.
Google will also use algorithms to ensure that the search terms remain relevant and will monitor closely whether users are regularly engaging with the playlists that they have created. “When people search for certain keywords on YouTube, we will display a playlist of videos debunking violent extremist recruiting narratives,” YouTube said in a blog post.
On its work with Moonshot, it added: “We hope our work together will also help open and broaden a dialogue about other work that can be done to counter radicalisation of potential recruits.” The latest tool follows its recent expansion of trusted flaggers and a tighter oversight of videos, which all aim to combat extremist content and fake news.