In an attempt to thwart the use of YouTube by Islamic State extremists, Google has hired Arabic speakers in all time zones. Google has been recruiting Arabic speaking moderators around the globe to help prevent YouTube from being hi-jacked as a tool for promoting propaganda by militants.
According to the Daily Mail, it is unknown at this time exactly how many Arabic speakers were hired by Google; however, a source at Google told the publication that the search giant now has Arabic speakers working from all time zones. The move is likely the result of violent videos uploaded to YouTube by Jihad extremists, such as the 22-minute video of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh being burned alive.
YouTube guidelines ban videos that “incite others to commit violent acts.” However, the video service does not filter any content before it is made public. Instead, the service utilizes moderators and a public flagging system to identify content that does not meet YouTube guidelines. Therefore, the video of pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh being burned alive was live for multiple hours before being removed by moderators. Google hopes that by hiring Arabic speakers, videos such as this will be identified sooner.
Jonathan Russell, of Quilliam, a company that focuses on counter-extremism, notes that these are good first-steps by Google.
“I really see a sea change. It is pretty young still. It hasn’t been long enough to see a shift in results, but I am [gratified] that they are tackling it in the right way.”
Russell notes that YouTube and social media is used heavily by extremist groups to gain new recruits for their cause. In fact, he says that the group’s use the social media channels much like a business.
“They want to show that they’re sticking it to the man, that they’re fighting the West, and that they are willing to use violence. They want to show that they’re not scared and that people are scared of them. People are flocking to IS because it is winning the branding war among jihadis. In every other sense [apart from violence], they act like a multinational corporation.”
Pakistan Today notes that Google currently uses a system of moderators and special users to identify content that needs to be removed.
“[Google] has handed special powers to users such as the Home Office, which reliably flag extremist content, making it easy for them to report hundreds of controversial videos at a time. Its moderators then go through the content, and decide whether it is suitable for YouTube, whether it needs to be censored or removed, but the tech giant says it does not have enough resources to monitor every piece of content uploaded.”
What more do you think Google needs to do, beyond hiring Arabic speaking moderators, to ensure that extremist groups are not using YouTube as a recruitment tool?