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Google Ads Pilot Aims to Counter Online Extremism

Google is trying out a new program that would cause anti-extremism messages from non-governmental organizations to pop up in slots managed by its AdWords service.

The program was first revealed by Dr. Anthony House in testimony before the U.K.'s Home Affairs Committee on Tuesday. House is the head of public policy strategy for Google in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

"This year … we are running two pilot programs," The Guardian quoted House as saying in regard to anti-radicalization plans. "One is to make sure that these types of videos are more discoverable on YouTube. The other one is to make sure when people put potentially damaging search terms into our search engine … they also find this counter narrative."

Social media companies called on to help fight terrorists online 3:31

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The program will not change the search results that possible jihadi searchers may come across while Googling, as some outlets previously reported. Instead, NGOs that want to run counter-terror messages will be able to target those through AdWords to searches likely to be used by people who might be susceptible to online radicalization.

"What was referenced is a pilot Google AdWords Grants program that's in the works right now with a handful of eligible non-profit organizations," a Google spokesperson said in a statement on Wednesday. "The program enables NGOs to place counter-radicalization ads against search queries of their choosing."

The Google AdWords Grants program provides eligible non-profits with between $10,000 and $40,000 of AdWords advertising a month.

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