How Much Progress Is YouTube Making in Its Fight Against Terrorist Content?

More than 75 percent of videos YouTube took down were removed before being reported by users

YouTube announced a four-step approach to stamping out terrorist content in June, and Tuesday, the Google-owned video site provided an update on its efforts Tuesday.

The four steps, along with progress updates from YouTube, follow:

  • Increasing use of technology to help identify extremist and terrorism-related videos: YouTube said it began developing and implementing “cutting-edge machine learning technology” to help identify and remove violent extremism and terrorism-related content, and more than 75 percent of the videos it removed were taken down before even being reported by users. YouTube also cited improvements in accuracy, and it said that despite more than 400 hours of content being uploaded to its network every minute, machine learning has helped it to more than double the number of videos it has removed.
  • “Greatly” increasing the number of independent experts in YouTube’s Trusted Flagger program: The video site has begun working with “more than 15” additional non-government organizations and institutions via its Trusted Flagger program, including the Anti-Defamation League, the No Hate Speech Movement and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue. YouTube also pledged to continue adding more organizations to its network of advisors.
  • Taking a tougher stance on videos that may not clearly violate YouTube’s policies: Videos that don’t violate YouTube’s policies but “contain controversial religious or supremacist content” will be placed in what the site called a “limited state,” meaning that they will remain on YouTube behind an interstitial, and they will not be recommended, monetized or feature comments, suggested videos and likes. This change launches on desktop “in the coming weeks,” with mobile to follow.
  • Expanding YouTube’s role in counter-radicalization efforts: YouTube began rolling out features from Jigsaw’s Redirect Method last month, under which users who search for certain keywords on the site will be shown a playlist of videos that debunk violent extremist recruiting narratives. YouTube will also continue to amplify videos from its YouTube Creators for Change program.

YouTube said at the end of its blog post:

Altogether, we have taken significant steps over the last month in our fight against online terrorism. But this is not the end. We know there is always more work to be done. With the help of new machine learning technology, deep partnerships, ongoing collaborations with other companies through the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism and our vigilant community, we are confident we can continue to make progress against this ever-changing threat. We look forward to sharing more with you in the months ahead.

Image courtesy of manopjk/iStock.