YouTube begins bouncing terror searches to anti-hate videos

Yolanda Curtis
July 21, 2017

One of the core aims of this drive was to weed out violent content from the platform and today YouTube has announced that they'll be integrating Jigsaw's Redirect method on YouTube to steer users away from extremist videos. 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.

This strategy, developed with Jigsaw, an incubator company within Google and YouTube's parent company Alphabet, and London-based anti-extremist tech firm Moonshot CVE, basically sends YouTube requests for certain keywords tied to violent extremism to a playlist of videos "debunking violent extremist recruiting narratives", the companies said in an online post, Thursday. Last month, YouTube joined with Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter to form a new coalition to make their services "hostile to terrorists and violent extremists".

"This early product integration of the Redirect Method on YouTube is our latest effort to provide more resources and more content that can help change minds of people at risk of being radicalized", YouTube wrote in its post. The site came under fire recently after major advertisers found their ads running alongside extremist propaganda videos.

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".

In addition, YouTube said it will work with expert nongovernmental organizations to develop new video content created to counter violent extremist messaging "at different parts of the radicalization funnel".

As far as the success of the Redirect Method goes, the Google-owned giant will monitor the engagement on these videos to judge how the model is working.

Over the coming weeks this technique will be rolled out internationally by incorporating a broad range of non-English search queries - each of which will be dynamically updated by machine learning algorithms in response to real world data.

The Redirect Method says pre-existing videos, rather than specially commissioned content, are more effective because they are seen to be more trustworthy.

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