The techlash has well and truly arrived on YouTube’s doorstep. On June 3, the New York Times reported on research showing that YouTube’s recommendation algorithm serves up videos of young people to viewers who appear to show sexual interest in children.
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Over the past year, lawmakers from Brussels to Washington have discussed whether and how to regulate social media platforms. In Germany, a central question has been whether such platforms—which Germans call social network providers (SNPs)—should be held liable if they fail to delete or remove illegal content.
On Thursday, Sept. 6, Twitter permanently banned the right-wing provocateur Alex Jones and his conspiracy theorist website Infowars from its platform. This was something of the final blow to Jones’s online presence: Facebook, Apple and Youtube, among others, blocked Jones from using their services in early August. Cut off from Twitter as well, he is now severely limited in his ability to spread his conspiracy theories to a mainstream audience.
Editor’s Note: Terrorists' use of the Internet in all its forms remains an important source of their power and influence. Michael Smith, an analyst focusing on jihadist influence operations, calls for a much more aggressive set of government policies and laws to push technology companies to do more for counterterrorism. Although many analysts contend technology companies have upped their game, Smith argues that there is far, far more to be done.