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YouTube to Redirect Users Away From Terrorist Content

YouTube to Redirect Users Away From Terrorist Content

YouTube to Redirect Users Away From Terrorist Content

In the past, YouTube has taken a reactive approach to content that violates its terms of service: After human users or the site's algorithm flag offending videos, YouTube deletes the videos and blocks the accounts responsible. The site came under fire recently after major advertisers found their ads running alongside extremist propaganda videos.

In a Thursday blog post, YouTube said it's rolling out a new anti-terrorism feature that will redirect people searching for violent extremist content to videos that confront and discredit extremist messaging and mythology.

When people search for certain keywords on YouTube that would previously have turned up extremist videos, they'll now see a curated playlist of titles that debunk that ideology. This partnership is crucial because Moonshot CVE has been collecting data on how radical groups use online platforms to spread their message and recruit new members.

As the Verge reports, "An earlier pilot of 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.' " While that's promising, it may run aground against the ways that terrorists get around YouTube's existing content restrictions. Their research informed the creation of the Redirect Method, and Google has adopted it to prevent people from encountering harmful content on YouTube. In a long article on the topic, Motherboard writes, "I$3 n order to prevent users from flagging explicit or inflammatory extremist videos, terrorist media groups and disseminators like The Upload Knights and AQ's As-Sahab Media Foundation often label YouTube videos as 'unlisted, ' meaning that the videos can not be searched-only accessed if you are given the link".

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It will work with experts to develop additional video content for YouTube that will counter extreme message "at different parts of the radicalization funnel".

Last month, YouTube announced that it's stepping up its efforts to fight extremism and terrorism online, following the announcement of its parent company's campaign towards creating a safer internet. "As we develop this model of the Redirect Method on YouTube, we'll measure success by how much this content is engaged".

British Prime Minister Theresa May has increasingly called for tech companies like Facebook and Google to do more to combat Islamic extremism in Europe.

Among other things, YouTube will collaborate with expert NGOs to develop video content created to counter "violent extremist messaging at different parts of the radicalisation funnel" over the coming weeks.

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