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YouTube's new update is designed to fight terrorism


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YouTube announced yesterday its next step to counter online extremism.

The new update from the video platform will now redirect any English-language keyword searches related to terrorism to a video playlist that debunks and discredits "violent extremist recruiting narratives" from the Islamic State and other groups.

Among the keywords that trigger YouTube’s new tools were search terms that contained positive ISIS sentiments, like the slogan “Baqiyah wa Tatamadad (“Remaining & Expanding”) and respectful terms like “Al Dawla Al Islameyah,” which includes the honorific “al-Dawla,” denoting respect.

The update has been developed through an algorithm by Jigsaw - a subsidiary of Alphabet - and Moonshot CVE in order to expand their technology application to fight internet global threats.

The strategy is called the Redirect Method and has been developed to protect people in vulnerable social positions by trying to demystify the luring attempts of extremist groups.

It was originally tested in an ISIS-focused campaign in Arabic and English, and over the course of 8 weeks.

During these two months, 320,000 individuals were redirected to watch over half a million minutes of the 116 videos they selected against ISIS's recruiting themes.

The move comes after last month announcement from YouTube of four steps they would take to tackle terrorism.

The first one would be increasing the use of technology to help identify extremist and terrorism-related videos, followed by increasing the number of independent experts in YouTube’s Trusted Flagger programme.

Moreover, the company also promised to take a tougher stance on videos that don’t clearly violate YouTube policies and expand their effort in counter-radicalisation.

What is your stand on the matter? Do you think tech giants are doing enough to counter online radicalisation? Let us know in the comments.

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