Philip Ellis
News & Views
Tech giants unite to fight online extremism

Web companies Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft have come together to launch the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism. This new unit will focus on using technologies and expertise from all four participants to collaboratively engineer solutions to the spread of propaganda and online radicalisation by terror groups.

“The spread of terrorism and violent extremism is a pressing global problem and a critical challenge for us all,” reads the official Twitter blog post. “We take these issues very seriously, and each of our companies have developed policies and removal practices that enable us to take a hard line against terrorist or violent extremist content on our hosted consumer services. We believe that by working together, sharing the best technological and operational elements of our individual efforts, we can have a greater impact on the threat of terrorist content online.”

The forum will continue work began with previous shared initiatives, including the Shared Industry Hash Database and the EU Internet Forum. In addition to working together, the four tech giants will also partner with a number of start-ups, academics and civil society groups, and government organisations.

The three immediate areas the forum will focus on are: Research to inform on-going efforts and shape future policy decisions; Knowledge-Sharing between a broad network of private companies, public sector bodies, counter-terrorism experts and campaigning groups; and Technological Solutions including new content detection and classification via machine learning, and standardised best practices in transparency and reporting.

Another goal of this new collective is to train and educate smaller companies in effective counter-speech techniques, through programmes such as Creators For Change on YouTube and P2P on Facebook.

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