Google, YouTube to introduce new measures to tackle extremist content online

These videos will be prefaced by a warning, and will have comments, recommendations, user endorsement and monetisation blocked, which Google says will make them less engaging and harder to find.

The company is also planning to take a tougher stance on questionable videos that don’t clearly violate its policies and increase its efforts to redirect potential Isis recruits to anti-terrorist content.

Following a wave of terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom in recent months, Google’s senior vice-president and general counsel, Kent Walker, used one of the leading publications in the country to outline a plan to combat the use by terrorists of Google’s tools.

The company is also employing more resources from engineering and will increase the use of technology to help in the identifying of extremist videos, as well as training its new content classifiers so they can quickly identify as well as remove the content.

Kent said it’s working with government and law enforcement “to tackle the problem of violent extremism online”.

In addition to human content reviewers, the company has also employed an image-matching tech developed by its own engineers which will help in preventing identified terrorist content from reappearing on the website. It will further work with counter-extremist groups to help identify content used with the objective of radicalizing or recruiting extremists.

In the United Kingdom, a parliamentary committee report published in May accused the industry – including Google – of prioritizing profit over user safety by continuing to host unlawful content. Potential recruits have so far clicked through on the ads at an unusually high rate and watched over half a million minutes of video content that debunks terrorist recruiting messages.

The firm does admit that this is tricky as news content about a terrorist attack could be (and has been in the past) flagged as undesirable content. Let’s hope Google can finally get this right.

Microsoft (MSFT) and Twitter (TWTR) all recently agreed to create an worldwide forum in order to share ideas and technology to fight against online extremism.

Google has now admitted that “more needs to be done” by the major internet companies.

Rather, the company told The Mercury News in March that it had begun an “extensive review” and was looking to make changes after brands in the United Kingdom, then elsewhere, halted advertising from Google platforms.

Google said that it had used the terrorism-related content it had removed to help train AI systems.

Because extremists and terrorists attack our security as well as our values, they are against exactly what make our societies open and free. “It is a sweeping and complex challenge”, Walker writes.