Google is not exactly going out on limb with an announcement that it will block terrorist content on YouTube, but its new initiative certainly appears commendable from a national and international security perspective.
In a Google in Europe blog post authored by its general counsel, the search engine behemoth explained that it is adopting four new guidelines for tackling the issue of online extremism that will combine ramped-up technology with the human element.
In addition to boosting its screening software technology to better identify videos that need to be taken down, YouTube will get an assist from its so-called Trusted Flagger cohort of Google-funded independent experts who will help police the platform.
Google is already working with various government agencies to address violent extremism.
Google also says its getting tougher with inflammatory religious or supremacist content by including warning labels, demonetizing the videos, and otherwise minimizing the opportunity for user engagement. That sounds reasonable and appropriate on its face.
Some controversy over YouTube demonetizing certain political videos has already emerged, effectively implementing a form of revenue-loss censorship. With that said, it remains to be seen how broadly or arbitrarily the term “inflammatory” will be interpreted as a practical matter.
Perhaps most significantly, Google says it is partnering with its Jigsaw subsidiary across Europe for what might be called a form of counter-radicalization programming.
This promising approach harnesses the power of targeted online advertising to reach potential ISIS recruits, and redirects them towards anti-terrorist videos that can change their minds about joining. In previous deployments of this system, potential recruits have 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.
Google also explained that it will collaborate with other social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter as well as software giant Microsoft for additional ways stop the spread of terrorism-related content across the web.
U.K. lawmakers, in particular, have apparently been pressuring tech companies to do more about terrorist-related material online, particularly after terrorist attacks in London and Manchester. According to the Daily Mail, “Technology firms, including Google and its video site YouTube, have been accused of dragging their feet and failing to remove extremist material quickly enough.”
This raises questions as to why Google was so quick to blacklist Natural News for about six days on a flimsy pretext earlier this year. At the time, Naturals News founder Mike Adams expressed these thoughts.
I continue to believe that Natural News was targeted by Google due to the content of our speech which supports President Trump… and that the “sneaky mobile redirects” issue was merely the justification used by Google to de-list the entire NaturalNews.com website. Google no doubt disagrees with this assessment and says it was just a technical issue, yet we are not aware of any other situation in which a minor technical issue on a subdomain resulted in Google blacklisting the entire ROOT domain of a major publisher, with 140,000+ pages of quality content.
Google has also been accused of down-rating other independent journalism and natural medicine sites that don’t share its progressive worldview and destroy their web traffic in the process. Last year, The Intercept reported that Google execs and lobbyists were regular visitors at the Obama White House on a weekly basis and that at least 250 individuals participated in revolving door employment between Google and the Obama administration. (Related: Read more about search engine manipulation at Journalism.news.)
Accused last year of manipulating search results to help the Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential campaign, Google is now also deciding for its users what news is real or fake, with the help of leftist fact-checkers.