SOLVING THE PRODUCT PUZZLE
Here’s how Jigsaw approached the problem of online terrorist recruitment by ISIS to create Redirect Method.
1 Field research
Jigsaw team members traveled to hot spots to interview ISIS defectors. By investigating what narratives and terms attracted susceptible youth to join the terrorist organization, Jigsaw was able to craft digital advertising to counter ISIS messaging.
2 Partner with other experts
Just as Jigsaw has partnered with The New York Times and Wikipedia on other products, for Redirect Method it collaborated with Moonshot CVE, a firm that specializes in understanding extremist propaganda.
3 Leverage Alphabet engineering
Using Adwords to target potential recruits via search terms (e.g., “How to join ISIS” or “Fatwa for jihad in Syria”), Jigsaw redirected clicks to videos designed to undermine the ISIS caliphate or question its divine authority. “We put together thousands of keywords we had developed with former violent extremists,” says Yasmin Green, Jigsaw’s head of R&D.
4 Test, test, test
During the product’s eight-week pilot, the ads reached more than 320,000 viewers, who together consumed roughly a year’s worth of anti-isis video content.
5 Iterate, refine, and scale
Cohen’s most recent Pakistan trip, in December 2016, allowed him to explore how the program could be adapted to target atrisk populations along the Afghanistan– Pakistan border.
Jigsaw’s Redirect Method leverages Adwords to point potential ISIS recruits to videos that challenge ISIS dogma.