Monday, June 19, 2017

Google Employs New Steps to Combat Terrorism Online

Alphabet Inc.’s Google announced four new steps that they will be employing to tackle the issue of terrorism across all of its services especially YouTube,  a response to U.K lawmakers who have said that the internet is a petri dish for radical ideology. The company also said that it has been working with government, law enforcement and civil society groups for this purpose.
The internet giant recognized that the threat poses a serious challenge and more immediate action needs to be taken.

“Terrorism is an attack on open societies, and addressing the threat posed by violence and hate is a critical challenge for us all”, Kent Walker, Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Google, said in a blog spot.

“There should be no place for terrorist content on our services.”

Before going into detail on what shape the extra shapes will take, Walker outlines the existing measures that the company is already taking to help prevent the distribution and redistribution of terrorist material. This ranges from the thousands of employees Google has to review content, to technologies and systems that automatically avert the upload and re-upload of known terrorist material, to the government and law-enforcement cooperation that the company is involved in.

Throughout the post, attention is paid to the company’s aim to obtain a balance between open and free societies and the prevention of terrorist actions that intend to eat away these same values. 

The four steps are: better detection of extremist content and faster review, more experts, tougher standards and early intervention and expanding counter-extremism work.

The Steps

Detection: The company will devote more engineering resources and advanced machine learning to improve Google’s identification software. This is the software that will ideally help identify inappropriate videos automatically and determine between propaganda or the glorification of terrorist content and legitimate reports on such content by reputable journalistic networks.

Standards: The YouTube, online video behemoth, “will be taking a tougher stance on videos that do not clearly violate its policies”. This means that the videos that border on infringing its policies, but are technically still allowed such as supremacist content will be void of the comments section, lack the ability to be recommended or monetized, and will appear behind and “interstitial warning”.

Intervention: It is a proactive measure in counter-radicalization. More specifically, YouTube will be increasing its efforts along the lines of the redirect method, an approach that redirects targeted ISIS recruitment advertisements into anti-terrorist video instead, a process which has apparently already proved rather successful.

Expansion: The company hopes to greatly increase its amount of Trusted Flaggers on YouTube by almost doubling the amount of Non-Government Organizations that are already operating and financially backing them up with operational grants. While a great deal of content flagged as inappropriate can be inaccurate, Google claims that over 90% of its flags from this group of independent experts are accurate.

Google’s public stance came after UK Prime Minister Theresa May gave a speech in which she pushed for more internet regulation as means to prevent terrorism. In that context , it appears that Google’s Op-Ed is an attempt to influence UK away from internet regulation that could take more control out of the hands of internet behemoths like Google.

To that end, Walker mentioned that Google is working with Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter to create an international forum devoted to combating terrorist activities online.

“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. Now,” Walker said in a blog spot.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, Facebook offered additional insights on its efforts to remove terrorism content, a response to political pressure in Europe to militant groups using the social network for propaganda and recruiting. It ramped up use of artificial intelligence, such as image matching and language understanding to identify and remove content quickly, the company said in a blog post.
By 4:00AM GMT-4, Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) traded 0.16%, or 1.56, to $958.62. It opened in $957.91, with a session high of $959.95 and a session low of $948.70. Its market capitalization was 655.52 billion, with a P/E ratio of 30.9.
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