YouTube has unfortunately become a major way for ISIS and other terrorist organizations to find recruits. Videos found on the site that feature inflammatory language and images are often used as radicalizing propaganda in order to influence viewers, and have been linked to recent terrorist attacks across Europe.
YouTube’s parent company, Google, has become an innovator in AI and machine learning. They’re now using that power to create more powerful content classification technology. This will enable their artificial intelligence programs to track and remove videos that feature a terrorist message as soon as the videos are uploaded to the platform.
Some extremist videos do not violate Google’s terms of service, but the company has a new plan to target these videos, too. YouTube will now apply content warnings and will prevent the site’s users from commenting on or promoting them. In addition, it will not allow these provocative and aggressive videos to be monetized. These combined factors are intended to make such videos more difficult to access, and therefore prevent them from reaching a wider audience and creating a negative influence.
Google will also enable third party organizations to flag these offensive videos. These trusted organizations provide human support in catching any videos that may have slipped past the artificial intelligence censors.
Google’s general counsel, Kent Walker, recently acknowledged the issue in a blog post by stating that “‘While we and others have worked for years to identify and remove content that violates our policies, the uncomfortable truth is that we, as an industry, must acknowledge that more needs to be done…There should be no place for terrorist content on our services.'”
The company has made attempts to limit the spread of terrorism through YouTube videos before. However, Google has recently come under intense pressure from advertisers who were alarmed to discover that their ads have been running on videos that advocate religious hate speech and other forms of supremacist rhetoric.
In addition, the stricter content regulations found in Europe and the U.K. have prompted several foreign governments to respond to the issue as well. They have condemned these types of videos and call on YouTube to step up their game in ensuring that the internet is a safer and more comfortable place to be. With other social media sites including Facebook and Twitter strengthening their content censors, Google would do well to play more of a part as well.
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