Google says pre-sceening the 300 hours of material uploaded each minute would be like vetting a phone call before it is made
Internet company Google said on Wednesday that its video-sharing website YouTube is so inundated that staff cannot filter all terror-related content, complicating the struggle to halt the publication of terrorist propaganda and hostage videos.
Google public policy manager Verity Harding said 300 hours of video material is being uploaded to YouTube every minute, making it virtually impossible for all images to be filtered.
Harding spoke at a European parliament meeting of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (Alde) on a counter-terrorism action plan.
She said that “to pre-screen those videos before they are uploaded would be like screening a phone call before it’s made”.
The EU’s counter-terror chief believes it is time to help companies contain the security risk by having experts from member states flagging terror-related content.
“We have to help them, and refer to them, and signal content,” Gilles de Kerchove said. “Each member state should have a unit with people trained to do that.”
On YouTube, users can highlight problem videos and have them reviewed by a member of staff.
When a Scotland Yard unit recently told Google about material that did not comply with the firm’s own guidelines, De Kerchove said 93% of that content was removed. But when individuals flag up problems, only a third of it is taken down.
Detecting violent, extreme and racist material is a mammoth task. But concerted, targeted warnings from organised groups work best.
“There are community groups and others who do this on a larger scale and they’re incredibly helpful to us,” Harding said.
Despite the serious threat posed by extreme and violent videos, neither the big internet companies nor the EU appear willing to take on a legal battle to enforce removal of content.
“We can contemplate legislation but I suspect it would be an awfully monumental exercise,” De Kerchove said.