On Monday, the big internet companies have joined forces in order to weed out terrorists and extremist content online. They have created a collaboration forum where they are able to share information and strategies to fight terrorist organizations.
The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism now includes Microsoft, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, who are the founding members. The idea is to collaborate more closely in order to come up with a lot more effective anti-terrorist strategies. At this point, they are developing various technological solutions so they are able to filter out any questionable content that might indicate a terrorist premise. In addition, the founding members have reported that they will be partnering with the United Nations Security Council in the hopes of further discouraging extremist actions.
The companies in question have released a statement saying “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.”
In addition to group efforts and plans, each of the Forum participants already has their own methods and actions that are pointed at terrorism. Microsoft, for example, uses its Bing search engine to redirect the users who are searching for content that includes terrorist keywords. They are being sent to a ‘’counter-speech’’ which includes even the videos of certain ex-extremist groups that have given up their activities. The giants are also collaborating between the four of them by the means of ‘’hashes’’ which are unique digital fingerprints which are attached to the terrorist or extremist photos or videos posted online.
However, it seems that these joint efforts are not going to satisfy advocacy groups or governments around the world. They have been pressing down on the companies for not being able to remove terrorist and extremist content from their platforms. Several huge advertisers, including the British government, have actually pulled down their advertisements from YouTube because they have appeared right next to extremist, racist or homophobic content regularly.
Facebook is also not exempt from this ongoing conundrum. The biggest social network in the world has accidentally exposed the identities of its content moderators who were tasked with banning terrorist groups from their network.