Google joins fight against online extremism

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Google is helping to promote the fight against extremism through its own digital advertising network.

Anti-extremist ads partially financed by Google recently began appearing in the U.K. as part of a program that helps nonprofit organizations highlight their causes when people enter certain words into a search engine.

In this instance, Google says it is providing a “handful” of nonprofits with $10,000 apiece to buy such ads. These ads may appear alongside search results when a search request hints at an interest in extremists such as the Islamic State group.

It comes at a time when Google, Facebook, Twitter and other Internet companies are under more pressure to counter the use of online services by the Islamic State and other extremists to recruit supporters.

Google, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., hasn’t decided yet whether to extend its financing of anti-extremist ads to the U.S.

It’s up to each participating nonprofit to decide which search terms should be linked to its ads and how much it’s willing to bid for the right to have the messages appear alongside the results. Google’s financing won’t affect the formula that’s used to determine the rankings of websites in the non-commercial area where its main search results appear.

The funding of anti-extremist ads is part of a grants program that Google started more than a decade ago. In the past, Google has provided funding for nonprofit groups to buy ads promoting animal rescue efforts and the fight against hunger.

— Michael Liedtke, AP Technology Writer

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