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YouTube’s efforts to fight extremist movies falling quick, researchers say

An initiative by YouTube to reduce the publicity of movies advocating extremism is falling quick, based on a brand new report from researchers with the Counter Extremism Mission (CEP). The report criticizes the effectiveness of YouTube’s efforts to suppress extremist movies and promote content material that would dissuade potential recruits from becoming a member of terror teams.

YouTube, which is owned by Google, integrated features of the “Redirect Technique” final 12 months. This system makes use of promoting to steer customers away from extremist content material in search outcomes and towards a playlist of pre-existing movies that debunk the ideology of violent extremists. The Redirect Program was developed partially by Jigsaw, Google’s innovation arm. 

However the researchers with CEP say they have been thrice extra more likely to encounter movies with extremist content material in search outcomes than movies that fight the propaganda.

Between April three and April four, 2018, they searched YouTube utilizing 4 key phrases that the Redirect Technique says point out “constructive sentiments” towards the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The phrases included the Arabic translations of “Islamic State” and “remaining and increasing,” together with the English transliteration of every phrase. (“Remaining and increasing” is a generally used ISIS rallying cry.)

They reviewed 710 YouTube movies that appeared within the search outcomes and evaluated whether or not they contained extremist messaging or “counter-narrative” messages. They discovered 53 movies — greater than 7.four % — included violent extremism or extremist propaganda. Twenty-five of the movies confirmed express violence or gore. ISIS propaganda was restricted within the outcomes, however 18 movies have been official propaganda movies from different extremist teams and 31 others have been unofficial movies containing fight footage or montages.

They mentioned solely 15 movies, about 2.1 %, displayed content material that counters or debunks extremism and that 14 of these have been aimed solely at ISIS.

The time period “Al Dawla Al Islameyah” — the Arabic time period referring to ISIS — produced no counter-narrative outcomes whereas searches for the Arabic translation of “remaining and increasing” had extra extremist movies than counter-narratives within the outcomes.

The report highlights how social media giants in Silicon Valley have struggled to tamp down hate speech and terrorist propaganda on their platforms.

Lara Pham, deputy director at CEP, mentioned the purpose of the report was to “take a look at the efficacy of whether or not or not once we looked for pro-ISIS content material we have been being fed counter-narrative materials.”

Pham mentioned the report brings into query if Google and YouTube are doing sufficient to combat extremist content material.

“Our findings really query the intentions of why Google pursued this program within the first place as a result of, based on our findings, we actually didn’t discover that many counter-narrative packages and that was actually troubling to us.”

Researchers additionally recognized two search phrases that produced terroristic content material that weren’t specified by the Redirect Technique — the Arabic translation of “mujahideen” and “martyrdom.” They mentioned the phrases had probably the most extremist movies within the outcomes and lacked the counter-messaging content material nearly fully.

The authors of the report known as Google’s efforts to advertise counter-narrative content material “inconsistent and inadequate.”

“The one factor that’s clear is YouTube and others nonetheless have important issues with on-line extremism and present measures will not be practically sufficient,” David Ibsen, government director for the Counter Extremism Mission, mentioned in an announcement.

YouTube and Google didn’t reply to requests for remark. 

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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