Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has announced that in its efforts to combat terrorism, it would bring up ‘AdWords’ messages, which seek to counter extremism when searches to terror related material are made. Dr. Antony House, a senior Google executive, made this announcement when he was giving evidence to MPs in UK parliament. Dr. House noted that when jihadi sympathizers type an extremist-related word in Google search, they would be shown anti-radicalization links.
This move means that people who are at the risk of radicalization will be presented with the opposite of what they wanted and may ultimately change their thoughts. Dr. House noted that they were working on two pilot programs to try to combat terrorism. Apart from the above method, they will also make anti-terrorism messages widely available.
Government and other agencies have recognized the importance of combating extremism online. The internet used to feature large numbers of propaganda videos by the Islamic State of Iraq among other terrorist groups. These videos have a high potential for influencing new people to join the terrorist groups. In most cases, the videos always seem to convey the wrong message making them look appropriate for members who would like to join such groups.
Google had initially tried to minimize these videos. According to Dr. House, Google had removed 14 million videos from Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google’s YouTube in 2014. These videos included terrorist content and other videos concerning breaking the rules. The company in this process had received 100,000 ‘flags’ from members of the public of content they consider inappropriate.
Other companies have also joined in the removal of terrorist related content. According to Nick Pickles from Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR), the micro-blogging site, had taken down tens of thousands of extremist accounts in the last 12 months. Twitter currently has more than 100 people working in teams with the primary aim of dealing with inappropriate content on the site.
Google and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) did not make public the numbers of people employed to deal with such accounts though both are involved in the war on terror.
Dr. House finally noted that they offer Google Adwords Grants to Non-Governmental Organizations with the aim of bringing relevant counter-speech ads to serve as responses whenever queries the likes of ‘join ISIS’ are typed.