In the aftermath of a number of terror attacks in the UK, Google has made a concerted effort to reassure the public that they are committed to fighting terrorism.
Google’s General Counsel Ken Walker wrote an editorial in the Financial Times this weekend to reveal the company’s increased efforts in this domain; namely a series of targeted policies and practices focusing on terrorism-related videos on sites like Youtube. Walker outlined 4 new steps that Google are committing to, including faster detection of terrorist content using advanced machine learning, employment of 50 more expert NGOs in order to combat dangerous content, tougher regulation of videos that do not automatically violate security policy with a ban on comments and advertisement, and a hard push to counteract terrorist recruitment by redirecting viewers to anti-terrorist content.
This comes as a response to the huge pressure from governments on Internet providers and social media sites to share the information of their users with security forces so that these horrific acts can be prevented from becoming a reality. A spokesperson for the UK Home Office commented on this by saying, “The measures being implemented by Google, particularly those relating to hateful speakers, are encouraging first steps. However, we feel that technology companies can and must go further and faster, especially in identifying and removing hateful content itself.”
A spokesperson for the UK Home Office commented on Google’s pledge by saying, “The measures being implemented by Google, particularly those relating to hateful speakers, are encouraging first steps. However, we feel that technology companies can and must go further and faster, especially in identifying and removing hateful content itself.”
A little while ago we spoke to Yasmin Green, the director of Google’s Internet security branch Jigsaw, on what they are doing to fight the growing number of threats to our safety that can be found online. Jigsaw is the think tank behind most of these efforts and is vital in the development of technology for these new security measures.When we spoke to Green, she talked about the aim to prevent vulnerable youths from being recruited by terrorist organisations such as ISIS by using new diversion methods through YouTube and troll tools such as Perspective. Ken Walker seemed to reiterate the importance of this work in his piece, stating that Google is increasing the use of technology that “harnesses the power of targets online advertising to reach potential Isis recruits and redirects them towards anti-terrorist videos that can change their minds about joining.”
This is no easy task, however, a company such as Google, with a share of almost 95% in the search engine market, has a major responsibility to put all technological efforts towards making the Internet a safe place for all users. It’s a shame that it took threats from law-makers for them to recognise this responsibility.