Google to boost efforts to shut down extremist content online

Google to boost efforts to shut down extremist content online
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Google's top lawyer said Sunday that the company is taking new steps to curb terrorist-related content on the internet.

"While we and others have worked for years to identify and remove content that violates our policies, the uncomfortable truth is that we, as an industry, must acknowledge that more needs to be done. Now," Google’s general counsel, Kent Walker, wrote in an op-ed for the Financial Times.

Among the steps being taken, Walker said, will be an increase in the use of independent experts in YouTube’s Trusted Flagger program, which allows users to flag inappropriate content.

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The company will also take aim at content that doesn't directly violate its policies but could still contain "inflammatory religious or supremacist content." Such videos, Walker wrote, would not be monetized, recommended or open for comments.

"That means these videos will have less engagement and be harder to find," he said. "We think this strikes the right balance between free expression and access to information without promoting extremely offensive viewpoints."

The new policies come as some tech companies face mounting pressure in the United Kingdom to suppress and remove online content that could be used to promote extremist ideologies and terrorism. 

In the wake of recent terrorist attacks in England, U.K. lawmakers have blamed the internet for allowing extremism to spread without consequence.

“We cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed – yet that is precisely what the internet, and the big companies that provide internet-based services provide,” Prime Minister Theresa May said earlier this month, after an Islamic State in Iraq and Syria-claimed terror attack on London Bridge and at Borough Market left seven people dead.