Google exec’s op-ed lists 4-point plan to combat terrorism on YouTube

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Image: Jeff J Mitchell/ Getty Images

Following a wave of terrorist attacks in the UK in recent months, Google’s senior vice-president and general counsel, Kent Walker, used one of the leading publishings in the country to outline a plan to combat the use by terrorists of Google’s tools.

On Sunday, Walker posted an op-ed in the Financial Times that rolled four distinct steps Google is taking to fight radicals who harness the power of tools like YouTube to spread their contents.

“We will now devote more engineering resources to apply our most advanced machine learning research to qualify new ‘content classifiers’ to help us more quickly be determined remove[ radical and terrorism-related videos ], ” mentioned Walker.

“We will greatly increase the number of independent experts in YouTubes Trusted Flagger programme, ” Walker persisted, offering detailed information on the changes behind the scenes at YouTube. “We will expand this programme by adding 50 expert NGOs to the 63 organisations who ever part of the programme, and we will support them with operational grants.”

These initiatives don’t just cover technological approachings. The corporation will now take a modified approaching to judgment calls on content in general.

“We will be taking a tougher stance on videos that do not clearly transgress our policies … videos that contain inflammatory religion or supremacist content.”

“We will be taking a tougher posture on videos that do not clearly violate our policies for example, videos that contain inflammatory religion or supremacist content; in future these will appear behind a forewarn and will not be monetised, recommended, or eligible for benefits commentaries or user endorsements, ” although this particular measure is no guarantee that such content won’t still make it to customers, eliminating the monetization of such content may help. “We believed that this strikes the right balance between free expression and access to information without promoting extremely offensive viewpoints.”

Lastly, Walker says the company will bolster prevailing efforts from its Creators for Change and Jigsaw projects to implement the “redirect method, “ a program that uses Adwords and YouTube to debunk ISIS recruiting messages online.

Google’s public posture sees merely weeks after UK Prime Minister Theresa May gave a speech in which she pushed for more internet regulation as a means to prevent terrorism. In that context, it appears that Google’s op-ed is( aside from its purely positive aims) an attempt to influence UK away from internet regulation that could take more command out of the hands of internet behemoths like Google.

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

What this all means for freedom of speech is fascinating to consider: Do you trust curated censoring of some content is still in the hands of internet companies or the governmental forces? Both have shortcomings, but Google’s op-ed is a clear sign that this is no longer something the internet will “just work out” on its own, regulation is coming, from one back or the other.

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