Google's new policy to widen control on 'extremist' videos on YouTube

A search on Monday morning for the extremist cleric's name now shows 18,300 results, down from a reported 70,000 a year ago.

That number has since been reduced to around 18,500, and the majority of videos available appear to be news reports and documentaries about his life and death.

The Times noted that a small number of clips of Awlaki speaking disappeared after the paper sent an inquiry about the site's policy change last week.

In 2010, Google removed hundreds of the radical cleric's videos that directly advocated violence after the conviction of Roshonara Choudhry for attempting to kill British MP Stephen Timms.

Al-Awlaki was killed in a drone strike ordered by the Obama administration in 2011.

Google Public Policy Manager Verity Harding said that about 300 hours of video material was being uploaded to YouTube every minute, making it virtually impossible for the company to filter all images.

Anwar al-Awlaki, an American cleric and leading English-language jihadist recruiter, has helped inspire a generation of terrorists, including the Boston Marathon bombers, the Fort Hood gunman, and those behind the shootings in Orlando, Fla. and San Bernardino, Calif.

YouTube's efforts to clear Awlaki's work are a part of its larger efforts to eradicate terrorism-related content from the site.

Following the deadly Las Vegas shooting in October, YouTube banned gun modification tutorials from its site citing its policy against "harmful and unsafe content".

Despite his death in a U.S. drone strike in 2011, Awlaki's legacy lived on with more than 70,00o videos accessible on YouTube.

Terror organizations such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have used online platforms to recruit and radicalize people across the world. Google revealed that Russian actors spent tens of thousands of dollars on propaganda ads on Google search, YouTube and Gmail.



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