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Extremists resort to cloud for data storage as YouTube usage dies down: Report

YouTube which was once the most used platform for extremist content is now being taken over by Google Drive and Dropbox. A new report states that dissemination of content through these services is better.

tech Updated: Oct 12, 2018 17:09 IST
Natalia Drozdiak
Natalia Drozdiak
Bloomberg
youtube extremists,google drive extremists,dropbox extremists
cyber crime hacker typing on laptop(Benjamin Howell/iStockphoto)

The use of Google’s YouTube as a destination from which to spread jihadi terrorist propaganda online is dramatically declining, according to an intelligence group that tracks online extremism.

New analysis of web links, conducted by the Site Intelligence Group, suggests Islamic State and al-Qaeda continue to value the file-hosting services of Dropbox Inc., Google Drive, and Google Photos, however, and remain among the top-used services to store battle footage, documentary-style productions, and video speeches.

Once uploaded, links to this content are typically disseminated on social media platforms like Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc. and Telegram Messenger to reach as wide an audience as possible.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms any activity on our platform that promotes terrorism,” a Dropbox spokesman said, adding the company removes such material when it finds it, and cooperates with law enforcement to support investigations into its origin.

Will McCants, Google’s lead on counter-extremism, said he was “pleased to see this report detail the strong progress made on YouTube in tackling terrorist content.” He said Google was using the latest advances in machine learning to stamp out terrorist content across all its services. “There’s more to do, but we’re laser-focused on getting this right across the board.”

The report by Site, which analyzed more than 27,000 web links between April 1 and August 31 this year, comes as the European Union pushes for new legislation to force internet companies to wipe terror content from their services within an hour of being notified of it. They may face fines if they fail to do so.

Site’s analysis echoes research published by New York-based Flashpoint in May, which suggested Islamic State had been more frequently utilising preserved versions of web pages on archival websites and online locker services.

First Published: Oct 12, 2018 12:34 IST