The challenges YouTube has long faced in policing hateful, extremist and inflammatory content came into full view this spring when advertisements from major brands were found running alongside extremist propoganda videos. Advertisers on both sides of the Atlantic pulled or threatened to pull their ads from the platform.
Google has announced several steps to address advertiser concerns. On Sunday, Kent Walker, Google’s general counsel, outlined four steps Google is taking to address extremist-related content on YouTube. The blog post also appeared as an op-ed in Financial Times.
“There should be no place for terrorist content on our services,” wrote Walker, while acknowledging Google, and the industry as a whole, needs to accelerate efforts to address it. “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.”
YouTube will be applying more machine learning technology, more people and more discretion to its policing of extremist content going forward. The four steps Walker put forth are as follows:
YouTube, of course, is not the only network to become a breeding ground for extremists and supremacists. These groups and individuals have found Facebook and Twitter, too, to be places ripe for recruitment and spreading their messages. All are now coming to terms with the need to find a better balance between fostering free speech and not fostering violence and extremism.
In a blog post published last week titled “Hard Questions: How We Counter Terrorism,” Facebook laid out the behind-the-scenes steps it is taking to keep terrorist content off the network. Twitter reported it removed nearly 377,000 accounts in the last half of 2016 for promoting terrorism. Neither has seen the advertiser backlash that Google experienced this spring, but Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter have committed to establishing an international forum in which to share and develop technology and provide greater industry support to address terrorism online.
Ginny Marvin on June 21, 2017 at 10:41 am
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