YouTube is fighting radicalization through content redirection

Terrorism doesn’t seem to stop right now. It’s on the increase and the world is worried about it. As the number one free video sharing platform, where anything could be uploaded for the world to watch, YouTube has decided to fight terrorism using its own means. How? It will replace terrorism-related keyword searches with anti-terrorism related videos. It’s not doing it alone. The program is supported by over 63 Non-Governmental Organizations that are in one way or the other, trying to make the world a better place by eliminating terrorism.

YouTube’s anti-terrorism campaign was announced in June where the video giant came up with 4 measures with which to fights against the proliferation of hate videos that would lead people who are frustrated and looking for answers into engaging in terrorism.

YouTube is bent on its aims towards this campaign and has gradually started its operations. The method of keyword replacement or redirecting, which surely would happen in the background, was tested by a subsidiary of Google, Jigsaw, in collaboration with Moonshot CVE. And now that it’s confirmed as fully fledged, it will be a feature of YouTube.

In essence, when a user uses certain keywords suggesting that he is looking for extremist propaganda videos, YouTube will display a playlist of videos that contradict this propaganda. For instance, if you decide to search for ‘how to become a terrorist’ on YouTube, the search filter would rather bring you videos that would encourage you not to become a terrorist. It would be as if you search for the term ‘how not to become a terrorist’.

The team at YouTube believes that this first integration of YouTube-redirect method is their best effort to provide more resources and more content that can help change the attitudes of people at risk of radicalization.

Later, the video giant plans to expand the scope of the redirection method. It has already planned to apply it to a larger number of keywords, and to offer this functionality in other languages (at the moment, only English is supported).

An effort will also be made in artificial intelligence to make it possible to update the list of keywords dynamically. And YouTube will continue to work with NGOs to produce more content against radicalization.

But will YouTube’s redirect feature be welcomed by all? Certainly not. Terrorism-related content would surely be needed by many, especially investigative journalists for legitimate reasons. How is this group of people going to respond to this feature?

And what if YouTube just created a feature that can stop people from uploading terrorism related content. After all, if it’s not there, then you won’t even get it if you search.

Shouldn’t we focus more on the ‘uploader’ rather than the ‘viewer’ or ‘downloader’? What do you think?