Posts Under: terrorism

Google Implements Latest Steps to Combat Online Extremism

In the wake of the tragic violence in Charlottesville earlier this month, it’s even more evident that online extremism continues to pose serious threats to society. While battling extremism is an important step in preventing the spread of hate and violence around the world, there are many inherent challenges, including the sheer volume of daily posts, complexity of purpose for videos, and the need to adhere to free speech rights.  In spite of these challenges, industry has been committed to this effort for many years—we’ve highlighted some of this in the past, including industry efforts to cooperate with law enforcement, and formation of a partnership to fight terrorism.

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AI Spotlight: YouTube’s AI Tools Show Promise for Extremist Content Removal

Terrorists and other hate groups like al-Qaeda, ISIS, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis use social media and video streaming platforms to publish and spread their hateful and offensive content for radicalization, propaganda, or organizational purposes. After the recent tragic events in Charlottesville, the tech community has been figuring out ways to respond.  Platforms have increased the rate of which they either take down white supremacist content or make it harder to find.  But, many companies and platforms have been flagging and taking down such harmful for a long while, especially pertaining to terrorist content.

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A Welcome Partnership to Fight Online Terrorist Content

Government officials and onlookers have properly inquired into what social media platforms are doing to stop the spread of terrorist content on the internet.  And, social media companies for years have maintained complex, nuanced and evolving policies and practices that allow them to identify this content and act responsibly in the face of enormous challenges, particularly to monitor their networks and work to expeditiously remove it. Going a step further, a group of leading internet companies announced yesterday the formation of a partnership to combat terrorism online.  Specifically, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube—and potentially other companies to be joining in the future—have come together to help curb the spread of terrorist content online, announcing the decision to create a shared industry database of “hashes” — unique digital “fingerprints” — for violent terrorist imagery or terrorist recruitment videos or ...

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IGF USA Countering Violent Extremism Discussion

Last week on July 14, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) USA hosted an interesting and, unfortunately, once again, timely panel discussion entitled: “Content and Conduct: Countering Violent Extremism and Promoting Human Rights Online.”  Courtney Radsch from the Committee to Protect Journalists ably moderated and asked pertinent questions throughout the conversation.  Yolanda Rondon from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and Matt Mitchell from Black Lives Matter provided a civil rights perspective.  J.D. Maddox from the State Department described what the U.S. government is doing to combat online violent extremism abroad.  I was on the panel to give SIIA’s view, which is informed by our diverse membership, which includes content and social media companies. Rondon and Mitchell eloquently described the potential dangers and dilemmas faced by policymakers in determining how ...

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Tech Companies Cooperate with Law Enforcement in Removing Terrorist Propaganda

The dynamics of terrorism have completely transformed. In the past, terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda had minimal global reach and formed hierarchical structures characterized by tight knit communication networks. This is not the case today. Notably, ISIS’ network strays from a rigid hierarchy and forms loosely connected coalitions. Through coalitions, ISIS attracts outsiders from around the world by broadcasting propaganda on various Internet platforms. With the explosion of social media on Internet platforms, terrorist organizations have broadened their scope to reach audiences unattainable by the likes of al-Qaeda in 1990. To stem the spread of terrorist propaganda on the Internet, police organizations like Europol are adapting their counter-terrorism approach. Following the Paris attacks in 2016, Europol recognized that only vast quantities of data can reveal insights about terrorist networks. So, Europol placed a “Fraternity Taskforce” in charge of probing ...

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What are the Responsibilities of Tech Companies in an Age of International Terrorism?

Yesterday, at George Washington University, an energetic panel of government officials, scholars and policy advocates from business and civil society discussed the role of tech companies in an age of international terrorism.  There is more to this thorny issue, but the panel began with a good outline of the issues at stake. The panel met at a sad time when the world is mourning the loss of life from the attacks in Brussels.  Coming after attacks in Paris, San Bernardino and Istanbul, we are clearly at a critical junction in the struggle against violent extremism.  And that made today’s topic tragically timely and relevant. So what are the responsibilities of tech companies in an age of international terrorism?  I’d say that they have three:

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Social Media Should be Section 230 “Good Samaritans” in an Age of International Terrorism

This past Friday, February 5, Twitter announced  - in a tweet, of course – that it had shut down more than 125,000 terrorism-related accounts since the middle of 2015, most of them linked to the Islamic State. The social media site removes accounts that are reported to them, and it also uses spam-fighting tools to identify and take down other violent accounts.  It works with public interest groups to encourage counter speech and reports violent accounts to the government.

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