Google Targets Jihadis, America’s ‘Violent Far Right’ With Propaganda Program


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Eric Lieberman Managing Editor
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Google and other tech companies are using a system that targets prospective Islamic State recruits, and the mechanism will soon be used to target supposed right-wing extremists in North America.

The initial testing phase of the program gathered critical data on 320,000 individuals in eight weeks, by parsing and searching for 1,700 keywords. The targets were then provided advertisements, which led them to video content that painted a highly negative picture of ISIS, according to The Intercept.

Details about the current program and what to expect for the future were the topic of discussion at a Brookings Institution event, with speakers from the London-based start up Moonshot CVE (Countering Violent Extremism) and Jigsaw, a technology incubator created by Google.

“Our efforts during phase two, when we’re going to focus on the violent far right in America, will be very much focused on the small element of those that are violent. The interesting thing about how they behave is they’re a little bit more brazen online these days than ISIS fan boys,” Co-founder Ross Frenett said, according to The Intercept.

Frenett argues there is a substantial difference between what is illegal online in the United Kingdom and the U.S., and this may make pinpointing potential radicals easier.

“In the U.K. if someone in their Facebook profile picture has a swastika and is pointing a gun at the camera, that person is committing a crime,” Frenett explained. “In the U.S., there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. So we found that when we’re looking for individuals that are genuinely at risk of carrying out violence, that they’re relatively open online.”

The original experimental program specifically countering ISIS would utilize a YouTube channel that attempts to counteract ISIS recruitment tactics.

The content includes organic videos of life under ISIS rule. One video, filmed in the style of a documentary, interviews young people in Mosul, Iraq, and another video is of a woman covertly filming her life in Raqqa, Syria, Islamic State’s defacto capital.

The targets were reported to have viewed more than half a million minutes of videos, The Intercept reports.

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