YouTube combating extremism by redirecting users to videos debunking extremist narratives

After advertisers noticed that their ads were being placed alongside hateful and extremist videos on YouTube, Google promised that it would remove ads from the videos as well as protect viewers from potentially harmful messaging. Today, YouTube has announced that it will be using the “Redirect Method” created by Jigsaw to not only stop people from watching extremist recruiting material, but to also direct them to videos that debunk these groups…

Jigsaw, an incubator within Alphabet that works on creating technology to battle online security threats, partnered with Moonshot CVE to find new ways to counter violent extremism. 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.

Using this research, Jigsaw and Moonshot CVE have been able to identify terms that are used by extremists and by those who end up at the recruiting videos. Using this data, the Redirect Method will automatically load a playlist of videos that debunk radical views and recruiting narratives when someone searches YouTube using specific terms.

This is just an early release of the Redirect Method. Going forward, YouTube plans to grow the list of search queries so that it can also redirect users who are searching the platform in languages other than English. The company intends to increase this list with the use of machine learning, which can monitor activity on the platform and automatically add highly used terms to the list.

Additionally, YouTube will be working with non-governmental organizations to create more videos that combat those created by extremist groups. These videos will be targeted at those in different stages of the recruitment process. Google will also be working with Moonshot CVE going forward to help launch the Redirect Method in Europe.

We will have to wait and see if this method works on YouTube. Google says it will measure success based on the amount of engagement the debunking videos get from the Redirect Method. This plus the other programs that YouTube is using behind the scenes will hopefully help identify and remove extremist videos on the platform.

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Avatar for Justin Duino Justin Duino

I’m a writer for 9to5Google with a background in IT and Android development. Follow me on Twitter to read my ramblings about tech and email me at Tips are always welcome.