Google takes a hard line on online terror in its new 4-step plan
In a recent blog post originally published as an op-ed piece in the Financial Times, Kent Walker, serving as General Counsel for Google, detailed the company’s new plan of attack for counteracting online terrorism. In the opening of his address, Walker touched upon the company’s previous efforts to combat policy violations and terrorist activity (including technology used to match photo and video content) – ultimately deeming them insufficient. In addition to cooperating with other tech giants and “counter-extremism” agencies, Walker announced the company’s new 4-step plan to bolster their offensive strategy. Furthermore, Walker stressed the urgency of implementing this new plan – suggesting that it would be effective immediately.
The four steps have been summarized below:
1. Training new “content classifiers” – technology used to smartly and accurately detect video content depicting extremist content.
2. Pouring more manpower into YouTube’s Trusted Flagger program in order to offset any potentially erroneous results from machine detection (although Google states that Trusted Flagger reports are not perfect either at 90% accuracy).
3. Imposing stricter penalties on videos that violate the company’s policies, by making such content ineligible for user comments, monetization, or otherwise being featured on company platforms.
4. Seeking out potential targets of terrorist recruitment and redirecting them to anti-terrorist content aimed at dissuading any would-be terrorists from joining extremist groups like Isis.
To open and close his message of Google’s commitment to combating online terrorism, Walker highlighted the necessity of striking a balance between strong security and personal liberties. While the address attempted to convey that the company’s heart is in the right place – disparaging terrorist activity while advocating for “the very things that make our societies open and free” – the effects of its reinvigorated offensive remain unseen.