According to a report from The Guardian, Google will soon start showing anti-ISIS ads in search results. The report claims that when a user searches for a topic relating to Islamic extremism or radicalization, they will see ads that encourage them to view the “counter narrative” to their search query.
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Even though it will show counter-radicalization advertisements, Google will not alter the search terms or actual search results, nor will they forcefully redirect users. In a statement, a Google spokesperson had the following to say regarding the efforts:
“The free Google AdWords Grant program is starting a pilot for a handful of eligible non-profits organizations to run ads against terrorism-related search queries of their choosing.”
Likewise, YouTube is also working to make counter-radicalization videos easier to find on the service. Anthony House, senior manager for public policy and communications at Google, explained that while the company should remove the harmful stuff, it’s also important that people are able to find good information:
“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.
Google’s anti-radicalization efforts come just a few weeks after executives from the top tech companies met with White House officials in Silicon Valley to discuss using the internet and social media to do the very thing Google is now doing. It will be interesting to see if Google expands its efforts in this field, but for the time being, it seems like the company is not going to force its users to do anything, despite what they may search.