YouTube recently announced how it intends to combat terrorist propaganda and rhetoric on their website: they will redirect the users looking for those things. Users who search for such content will be shown to videos that depict clerics refuting violent religious narratives. They will also be directed to videos that show victims of terrorists.
“When people search for certain keywords on YouTube, we will display a playlist of videos debunking violent extremist recruiting narratives,” YouTube said in its blog post last week that explains this new change. “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.”
Multiple social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google have been eager in their response to the deluge of propaganda that has been surfacing on their platforms, where it can be accessed by anyone, including those with a habit of violent behavior. YouTube already prohibits its users from uploading videos that are comprised of violent or racist content; however, users can get around the website’s sharing rules by posting hundreds of links. Propaganda videos are often uploaded as “unlisted,” which means that users can’t find them through a search but the videos can still be posted on social media or shared with direct links.
The Redirect Method was conceived and developed by Jigsaw, a company owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet. The Method is intended to target ISIS-focused videos and was constructed with research partners who had explored the major avenues and narratives the group used for recruiting.
YouTube, aside from announcing the Redirect Method, also stated that it would be expanding product functionality to a wider set of search queries in languages other than English and would be using machine learning to update search query terms. It also intends to work with expert NGOs on creating new video content to counter violent extremist messages and to collaborate with Jigsaw to expand the Redirect Method in Europe.
“As we develop this model of the Redirect Method on YouTube, we’ll measure success by how much this content is engaged. Stay tuned for more,” YouTube said.