Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, YouTube join hands to counter terrorism

By Anuj Sharma - June 27, 2017
counter terrorism
Tech giants Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube have collaborated and announced the formation of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, which will help them continue to make hosted consu....

Social media giants Facebook, Twitter and YouTube along with tech giant Microsoft have collaborated and announced the formation of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, which will help them continue to make hosted consumer services hostile to terrorists and violent extremists.

The new forum builds on initiatives including the EU Internet Forum and the Shared Industry Hash Database; discussions with the UK and other governments; and the conclusions of the recent G7 and European Council meetings.

It will formalise and structure existing and future areas of collaboration between companies and foster cooperation with smaller tech companies, civil society groups and academics, governments and supra-national bodies such as the EU and the UN.

Initially, the forum will focus on:

Technological solutions: Under this the companies will work together to refine and improve existing joint technical work, such as the Shared Industry Hash Database; exchange best practices as they develop and implement new content detection and classification techniques using machine learning; and define standard transparency reporting methods for terrorist content removals.

Research: Here they will commission research to inform their counter-speech efforts and guide future technical and policy decisions around the removal of terrorist content.

Knowledge-sharing: Under this segment the four tech giants will work with counter-terrorism experts including governments, civil society groups, academics and other companies to engage in shared learning about terrorism.

And through a joint partnership with the UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (UN CTED) and the ICT4Peace Initiative, they will establish a broad knowledge-sharing network to -- engage with smaller companies, develop best practices and counter-speech.

The tech giants will engage with smaller companies to help them develop the technology and processes necessary to tackle terrorist and extremist content online.

We already partner with organisations such as the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Anti-Defamation League and Global Network Initiativeto identify how best to counter extremism and online hate, while respecting freedom of expression and privacy. We can socialise these best practices, and develop additional shared learnings on topics such as community guideline development, and policy enforcement,” Facebook said in a blog post on Monday.  

Each of us already has robust counter-speech initiatives in place (e.g., YouTube’s Creators for Change, Jigsaw’s Redirect Method, Facebook’s P2P and OCCI, Microsoft’s partnership with the Institute for Strategic Dialogue for counter-narratives on Bing, Twitter’s global NGO training programme).

“The forum we have established allows us to learn from and contribute to one another’s counter-speech efforts, and discuss how to further empower and train civil society organizations and individuals who may be engaged in similar work and support ongoing efforts such as the Civil society empowerment project (CSEP),” the blog post read.

The companies will also be hosting a series of learning workshops in partnership with UN CTED/ICT4Peace in Silicon Valley and around the world to drive these areas of collaboration.

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