Want to keep the TNW Conference vibe going?? Tickets for TNW2022 are available now >>

The heart of tech

This article was published on July 20, 2017

YouTube battles extremism by redirecting terrorism-related search terms

YouTube battles extremism by redirecting terrorism-related search terms
Rachel Kaser
Story by

Rachel Kaser

Internet Culture Writer

Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback riding. Check her Twitter for curmudgeonly criticisms.

Google today announced it was adding a feature to YouTube to redirect anyone searching for extremist content to videos that decry terrorism. According to YouTube’s blog, this is part of Google’s larger initiative to push back against such content that keeps popping up on its video platform.

Jigsaw — Alphabet’s security incubator — and counter-extremist startup Moonshot CVE partnered up to create the Redirect Method. Whenever someone searches for keywords related to extremist content, YouTube will instead show a series of videos running counter to that particular ideology.

Today, YouTube is rolling out a feature using the model proven by the Redirect Method: when people search for certain keywords on YouTube, we will display a playlist of videos debunking violent extremist recruiting narratives.

It’s an interesting idea, but I wonder what kinds of keywords will be used to create the anti-extremist content in the first place.

Also, what about when someone searches for such things for legitimate research or journalistic reasons? Is there a way to turn the Redirect off? I’m all for protecting users from exposure to heinous imagery, but there are noble reasons why someone might want to see that content.