Youtube Begins Program to Redirect Searches for Terrorist Videos to Counter-Terrorism Content

Posted: Jul 21, 2017 7:00 AM

Youtube announced Thursday that they have begun implementation of a new feature called the “Redirect Method” that will redirect searches for videos from groups such as ISIS to videos that undermine those narratives.

“When people search for certain keywords on YouTube, we will display a playlist of videos debunking violent extremist recruiting narratives,” YouTube explains in their blog.

A description on the Redirect Method’s website shows results from a pilot program of the method that ran in August and September 2015.

The method identified five ISIS recruitment narratives in the group’s official social media:

Good Governance ISIS showcases not only its bureaucratic structure and provision of social services, but also its harsh implementation of sharia.

Military Might A narrative designed to display ISIS’s battlefield victories in order to portray it as an unstoppable force. The group depicts itself as possessing continuous momentum, and its message to its enemies is that they faced capture, torture, humiliation, and death.

Religious Legitimacy ISIS depicts its interpretation of Islam as the only authentic manifestation of the faith. ISIS argues that its alleged re-establishment of the caliphate made all competing states and organizations null and void under God’s law.

Call to Jihad Emphasizes the individual duty to either emigrate to the “caliphate” or carry out local terrorist attacks in ISIS’s name. This messaging portrays ISIS fighters as heroes, their days as packed with action, camaraderie, and glory.

Victimhood of the Umma (The umma is the worldwide body of Muslims) This narrative depicts outside powers conspiring to harm, subjugate, and disempower Muslims throughout the globe.

They also found that content that undermines ISIS did not overtly attack it but rather included “videos by those who reside in ISIS-controlled territory who document ISIS’s atrocities toward civilians and failed governance efforts” and videos “highlighting the testimonies of ISIS defectors whose actual experiences undercut ISIS’s recruitment narratives, and reveal the group’s shortcomings and hypocrisy.”

The pilot program resulted in 320,000 people watching 500,000 minutes of 116 curated anti-extremism videos.

Youtube said in its announcement Thursday that it hopes in the coming weeks to expand the product’s “functionality to a wider set of search queries in other languages beyond English” and work “with expert NGOs on developing new video content designed to counter violent extremist messaging at different parts of the radicalization funnel.”

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