Google weighs using anti-jihad results to fight terrorism

Pilot program will use algorithm to divert would-be extremists to anti-radicalization websites, where they will ‘find a community of hope, not harm’

Illustrative photo of a laptop computer (Sophie Gordon/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of a laptop computer (Sophie Gordon/Flash90)

Google said Tuesday it is considering using its search algorithms to dissuade potential jihadists from engaging in extremist activities, British media reported.

A senior official at Google told British members of Parliament that under the pilot program being planned, people entering queries believed to be tied to terrorist activities and extremism would be referred to anti-radicalization results.

Anthony House, Google’s senior manager for public policy and communications, was speaking before MPs along with representatives of Facebook and Twitter about efforts to counter extremism on the internet.

“We should get the bad stuff down, but it’s also extremely important that people are able to find good information, that when people are feeling isolated, that when they go online, they find a community of hope, not a community of harm,” he said, according to the Guardian.

The search and social media giants have come under growing pressure to monitor and censor content on their services in recent years, as these have increasingly become platforms for extremist groups to communicate and spread their propaganda to potential new recruits.

It is believed that around 30,000 foreign fighters have joined the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq from around the world, with many of them recruited through the internet.

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