YouTube and Jigsaw Use Search Redirects to Fight Terrorism

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Popular sites like Facebook and Twitter are looking for advanced ways to fight bullying and illegal activity, and that goes for top video sharing site YouTube, as well. Yesterday, the company announced it will work with Jigsaw to use search redirects to steer impressionable people curious about terrorism and violent extremist propaganda to videos that debunk that rhetoric.

Jigsaw is an incubator within Alphabet devoted to using technology to fight major global security problems. It's been researching the best ways to counter extremist messages for years, and created the redirect strategy.

When people search for certain keywords on YouTube that would previously have turned up extremist videos, they'll now see a curated playlist of titles that debunk that ideology. The goal is to stop impressionable viewers from becoming radicalized.

While YouTube's redirect strategy currently only works in English, the site will soon bring it to other languages. It will also create machine learning systems that can update search terms automatically. Besides Jigsaw, YouTube is working with expert non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to create content that will counter extremist messages at different levels.

"We hope our work together will also help open and broaden a dialogue about other work that can be done to counter radicalization of potential recruits," a YouTube blog post says.

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