Facebook teams with Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube to fight terrorism

Facebook teams with Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube to fight terrorism
Credit: Michael de Groot

Facebook today teamed with Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube to announce the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism. The unlikely alliance aims to crack down on terrorism and violent extremists by making “[their] hosted consumer services hostile to terrorists and violent extremists.”

From the release:

The spread of terrorism and violent extremism is a pressing global problem and a critical challenge for us all. 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.

Each has had its problems with extremist and/or propaganda content in the past: Microsoft with hosted content on Azure (and search results in Bing), YouTube with its comments, and the two social networks, both of which have taken heat or failure to rapidly remove offensive content.

The collaboration builds on other initiatives with the same goal, such as the EU Internet Forum and the Shared Industry Hash Database — both of which aim to curb the spread of extremist content online.

To fight terrorism online, the forum will focus on three central ideas:

  1. Technological solutions: Using advanced machine learning techniques the forum plans to design and implement new content detection and classification techniques in addition to working on defining rigid reporting methods to determine what types of content should be removed.
  2. Research: The forum intends to commission research to guide future technical and policy decisions.
  3. Knowledge-sharing: Aside from sharing data between the involved parties, the group plans to work with government, civil groups, academics, and other companies to further its goals and develop best practices for dealing with extremist content.

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