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  • 09.08.16

Google is using targeted ads to dissuade potential jihadis 

It’s a really simple plan: Whenever a potential jihadi starts watching ISIS propaganda, Google will present a clip that will hopefully undo the brainwashing. 

Wired reports that Google’s think tank wing, Jigsaw (formerly known as Google Ideas), is working on a program called the Redirect Method. It will use search algorithms to identify keywords that people attracted to ISIS often search for, then use targeted ads that present an alternative narrative: Muslim leaders denouncing ISIS, clips showing dysfunction inside the caliphate, or the perspectives of former jihadists. 

Early results have shown that the plan appears to be effective:

Over the course of about two months, more than 300,000 people were drawn to the anti-ISIS YouTube channels. Searchers actually clicked on Jigsaw’s three or four times more often than a typical ad campaign. Those who clicked spent more than twice as long viewing the most effective playlists than the best estimates of how long people view YouTube as a whole. 

Our Steven Melendez dug into this yesterday in a story about how Alphabet Is Using Google’s Ad Technology To Take On ISIS.ES