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Google bans adverts alongside ‘extremely offensive’ YouTube videos

Google has said it will allow “extremely offensive” videos to stay on YouTube but vowed not allow adverts to be sold alongside them.

The internet search engine has been accused of “profiting from hatred” following concerns that adverts are appearing alongside extremist material on its YouTube platform.

Yesterday it pledged to take four steps in the fight against online terrorism, including the faster detection of extremist content, more experts, tougher standards and an expansion of counter-radicalization work.

The technology giant announced that it will pay 50 charities to search out and flag extremist content rather than rely on computers to spot the content.

It said it was taking a tougher stance on online films that do not clearly violate their policies, including videos that contain “inflammatory religious or supremacist content”, to make them harder to find on the web.

These videos will instead appear behind a warning and will not be “monetised, recommended or eligible for comments or user endorsements.”

Google executive Kent Walker said: “We think this strikes the right balance between free expression and access to information without promoting extremely offensive viewpoints.”

It comes after the company was forced to publicly apologise earlier after the growing scandal over extremist videos on YouTube led to a series of companies pulling their adverts.

Google insisted yesterday that more extremism videos which support terrorism will be taken down and prevented from being uploaded, after the Home Affairs Select Committee called on them to take more responsibility for searching for illegal content.

The company added that Google-owned Youtube will expand its role in counter-radicalisation efforts by redirecting potential terrorist recruits towards anti-terrorist videos.

Mr Walker said: “Collectively, these changes will make a difference. And we’ll keep working on the problem until we get the balance right.”

The internet giant said it was working together with Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter to establish an international forum to share and develop technology and support smaller companies and accelerate our joint efforts to tackle terrorism online.

It came as UK’s Boris Johnson warned there should be no safe space for terrorists” to plot attacks and share radical material online ahead of a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg today.

The Foreign Secretary will encourage the bloc’s 28 foreign ministers to join forces to track foreign fighters returning from Iraq and Syria.

In the wake of atrocities in London Bridge and Manchester, Prime Minister Theresa May has urged social media companies such as Google, Facebook and Twitter to take down terrorist content, agreeing measures with G7 leaders in April and a new plan with French President Emmanuel Macron last week.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Mr Johnson said: “We are pushing back Daesh [so-called Islamic State] militarily, but the threat we face is evolving rather than disappearing as they lose ground in Iraq and Syria.

“The fight is moving from the battlefield to the internet.

“There should be absolutely no safe space for terrorists plotting attacks, radicalising young people and encouraging others to carry out violence in the name of an obscene ideology.”

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