Google is putting its financial backing behind a project intended to combat violent extremism by supporting a digital forum in which reformed terrorists and former violent criminals in touch with each other.
The self help support group consists of some 1,000 unlikely bedfellows comprising former Islamic militants sharing the online space with ex far-right and far-left supporters – as well as some of their victims.
It is intended that these encounters will serve to devise means of countering radicalisation.
Against Violent Extremism is being managed by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue will be funded by Google for two years and is seen as a reaction to public criticism of the internet giant for hosting extremist propaganda on YouTube.
Robert Orell, a former far-Right extremist who now runs EXIT Sweden, an organisation countering neo-Nazi ideology, said: “If you are trying to counter extremism but you are too close to the government you are too close to what many extremist groups see as the enemy.
“Large corporations can be seen as the enemy too, but not to the same extent."