When it comes to content from terrorists, or content that could incite terrorist behaviour, Google appears to be trying to clean up its act. So much so that the tech giant has been scrubbing through a massive amount of videos on YouTube.
According to a report from Reuters, Google spent the first three months of 2019 sifting through YouTube videos, and reviewed more than a million which were suspected of being terrorist in nature. Of those million-plus reviewed, the company says 90 000 were found to infringe YouTube’s terms and conditions, and have since been removed.
As Engadget points out though, that’s less than 10 percent of the videos that were reviewed, which means that Google is either casting too wide a net or its algorithm for flagging content needs to be refined.
These numbers cropped up following a presentation by Google to the United States House panel earlier this week, with the firm adding that it has more than 10 000 people working on the manual reviews, spending millions of dollars in the process.
The latter is mentioned as Google, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft have been asked by the US government to reveal their counter-terrorism budgets, and the millions of dollars answer is the closest that officials on the panel have been able to get.
Precisely why these leaders in the industry are so reticent to reveal their numbers is unclear, but the role they play in helping to fight against terrorism is certain. The video of the Christchurch mosque shootings last month for example, were disseminated on Facebook rapidly, despite the social media platform’s relatively quick response to take it down and delete shared copies of it.
As such the question remains whether these organisations need to do more, as well as whether millions of dollars is enough to combat it.
If Google’s processes for example could only find 90 000 videos in one million flagged, perhaps they too are ill-equipped to deal with the fact that terrorists use their platform to spread messages, garner support and ultimately have a stage to showcase on.
Either way more needs to be done, especially as there appears to be no end in sight to these terrorist acts.