Google has announced that it is taking a major step in aiding the world’s fight against the spread of terrorist ideologies.
The search giant’s parent company, Alphabet, said it will work to identify and suppress video content that supports these radical views.
To that end, it will increase the amount of workers screening for this type of content and drastically reducing its reach. The company stopped short of saying it will get rid of the content altogether, saying that though the content is not verboten, it can contribute in spreading dangerous thinking that can lead to terrorist action.
Google general counsel Kent Walker addressed the issue in a recent Financial Times editorial.
“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,” Walker wrote.
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Terrorists have been using YouTube, among other sites, to help spread propaganda and recruit potential followers.
Government officials in the United Kingdom praised Google in a statement that it issued to multiple media outlets, while calling for more tech companies to join the fight:
The measures being implemented by Google, particularly those relating to hateful speakers, are encouraging first steps. However, we feel the technology companies can and must go further and faster, especially in identifying and removing hateful content itself.
Earlier this month the UK’s prime minister also called for international agreements between allied, democratic governments to “regulate cyberspace to prevent the spread of extremism and terrorist planning”.
While in Germany a proposal that includes big fines for social media firms that fail to take down hate speech has already gained government backing.
Besides the threat of fines being cast into law, there’s an additional commercial incentive for Google after YouTube faced an advertiser backlash earlier this year related to ads being displayed alongside extremist content, with several companies pulling their ads from the platform.
Walker called Google’s efforts to identify extremist content “a sweeping and complex challenge,” adding, “We are committed to playing our part.”