YouTube Now Redirects Potential ISIS Recruits To Anti-Terrorist Video

The new YouTube feature uses the Redirect Method developed by Jigsaw, a think tank and incubator in Alphabet that uses Google products like AdWords and YouTube. The site came under fire recently after major advertisers found their ads running alongside extremist propaganda videos.

As part of this experiment which kickstarts today if any potential recruit searches for extremist content using a predefined set of keywords, they will be redirected to videos that deconstruct and confront the terrorist group.

YouTube's Redirect Method website says, "It focuses on the slice of ISIS' audience that is most susceptible to its messaging, and redirects them towards curated YouTube videos debunking ISIS recruiting themes".

Google in June announced plans to increase its use of technology to help identify extremist and terrorism-related videos.

YouTube has made good on its promise to crack down on hate speech online by beginning to redirect searches for terrorist propaganda toward anti-hate videos in a bid to halt the potential indoctrination of viewers. YouTube will also be adding other languages and expanding the program into Europe while using machine learning to dynamically update a list of "trigger" keywords that activate the anti-terrorist playlists.

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YouTube is taking a four-pronged approach to this issue that it says will be implemented in the next few weeks.

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

While superficially commendable, the Redirect Method does raise the specter of intervention and censorship.

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. Last month, YouTube joined with Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter to form a new coalition to make their services "hostile to terrorists and violent extremists".

Whether these steps will be sufficient to combat extremist and terrorist content on YouTube is the great conundrum, but it certainly feels reassuring that Google is not kidding around when it comes to the spread of extremist and terrorist propaganda on its platforms.