Google fights radicalisation with new technology

Nine News, Australia/November 19, 2016

Google’s think tank, Jigsaw, is in the process of trialling a new technology, aimed at curbing radicalisation online.

The project, called ‘Redirect’, will pick up on users searching for jihadist information and push them towards content designed to counter online terrorism recruitment, NBC News reports.

‘Redirect’ works similarly to targeted advertising where search engine key words trigger related ads to come up on a user’s feed.

“So if you were looking for, let's say, material on the social welfare system in the so-called caliphate, you would click on the ad and see the truth about what's happening in Syria and Iraq," Head of Research at Jigsaw, Yasmin Green said.

"The long food lines, the devastated suffering, the failure of the Islamic State."

In its first eight weeks, the program redirected 300,000 people searching for information on ISIS, according to its preliminary results.

The program tries to push users towards voices they would deem credible such as scholars and imams, not simply videos from the government’s security agencies.

Sohail Ahmad, a London resident, admitted he had become radicalised through searching for information on jihadists on Google and YouTube, but he said his views shifted overtime.

"What led me away from radicalism was kind of listening to more relatively moderate scholars and imams," he told NBC News.

"And if I'd had access to that information, if I'd been exposed to that much earlier, I think I would have turned away from extremism at a much earlier stage as well."

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