Google Takes on Propaganda, Terrorism-Related Content


Google announced it will be creating new policies to suppress terrorism-related videos, a response to U.K. lawmakers who have said the internet is a “petri dish for radical ideology.”

Google’s General Counsel Kent Walker announced the developments via an editorial piece in the Financial Times.

Walker said Google will “increase its use of technology to identify extremist and terrorism-related videos across its sites, which include YouTube, and will boost the number of people who screen for terrorism-related content. The company will also be more aggressive in putting warnings on and limiting the reach of content that, while not officially forbidden, is still inflammatory.”

Google and platforms such as Facebook are facing pressure to address their role in terrorism as groups such as ISIS use the platforms to recruit and spread propaganda. That pressure is getting more intense after a number of incidents in the U.K. recently. U.K. officials have focused on sites seen as enabling extremists to recruit followers, coordinate attacks and spread propaganda. Lawmakers have proposed new laws to regulate how social media platforms counter extremism online.

“We cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed,” U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said earlier this month. The proposed legislation would force social networks to make user data available to domestic security forces.

U.K. officials said Google’s announcements were “encouraging but not enough.”