On today’s episode of The Son Rise Morning Show, host Jacob Popcak and I took on an important topic which may have escaped your notice this past week when it was announced by YouTube’s parent company Google via the Official Youtube blog:
One of our core areas of focus is more work to counter online violent extremism. As a first step we’re now rolling out features from Jigsaw’s Redirect Method on YouTube. Over the past years, Jigsaw partnered with Moonshot CVE to conduct extensive research to understand how extremist groups leverage technology to spread their message and recruit new members. From there, they created the Redirect Method, which uses curated video content to redirect people away from violent extremist propaganda and steer them toward video content that confronts extremist messages and debunks its mythology. Today, YouTube is rolling out a feature using the model proven by the Redirect Method: when people search for certain keywords on YouTube, we will display a playlist of videos debunking violent extremist recruiting narratives.
— Moonshot CVE (@MoonshotCVE) July 21, 2017
A look at the Redirect Method website offers a fascinating study of the four phase approach being taken:
So what will searchers find on YouTube when they go searching for extremist propaganda videos?
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Per Redirect’s methodology, they will be driven systematically to a carefully curated playlist of content including (per Redirect):
- Citizen Journalism and Documentary Footage
- Religious Debate Videos featuring clerics and other religious figures who refute violent extremist narratives, and seek to undercut ISIS’s religious legitimacy.
- ISIS Defectors Videos highlighting the testimonies of ISIS defectors whose actual experiences undercut ISIS’s recruitment narratives, and reveal the group’s shortcomings and hypocrisy.
Let’s hope that this particular advance in technology is a well-timed solution to an ever increasing problem. I couldn’t–however–neglect to mention to Jacob my partial concern as one who promulgates content on the web that this same finely tuned systematic approach could eventually be used to “Redirect” other types of content that is deemed not socially acceptable. Will we ever see the day when religious conversation falls into this category? I surely hope not! But I will be paying attention while I continue to pray daily for peace in our world.