Stories

Exclusive: ‘Redirecting' extremists away from radical content

A bunch of arrows on a screen
Illustration: Sarah Grillo / Axios

This story is from Codebook, the new Axios cybersecurity newsletter that launched today. Sign up here.

It’s no secret that the internet is a fertile recruiting ground for extremists of all types. But a five-month effort trying to combat extremism shows promise in getting would-be white nationalist and ISIS sympathizers to click away from radical content.

Driving the news: Moonshot CVE, an anti-extremist consultancy, ran ads directed at users searching for propagandist torture videos and using searches like "how to join ISIS" or "kill all the Jews." Working in partnership with the Gen Next Foundation and the Google run incubator Jigsaw, Moonshot was able to divert 1,300 at-risk Google searchers to counter-narratives debunking propaganda or presenting an alternate worldview.