Facebook, Twitter And YouTube Work Together To Crack Down On Terrorist Content Online


Some of the biggest names in technology are taking a concerted effort to bolster takedown efforts on openly radical content that has helped terror cells recruit followers and spread terrorist agenda or ideas online.

Cracking Down Terrorist Content On The Web

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Microsoft announced on Monday that they would form a shared database of identifiers of online terror images and videos.

"There is no place for content that promotes terrorism on our hosted consumer services," the four companies said in a joint statement. "We hope this collaboration will lead to greater efficiency as we continue to enforce our policies."

According to The Wall Street Journal, the partnership comes as a direct result of all the companies' regular meetings with officials from the European Union as part of the EU Internet Forum, formed to dissuade terrorist from utilizing online platforms to encourage or promote their virulent agendas and ideas.

How The Database Will Work

The four companies will start assigning individual hashes to violent content. This hash maps out an image or a clip's unique characteristics in code which computers can then decipher. The four companies will then share the hash on the database so each can determine whether to remove the tagged material from its platform.

Internet companies, especially ones designed as social media platforms integrated with open and public discourse, have faced mounting pressure from authorities to expedite the takedown of terrorist content online such as Islamic State Propaganda videos and the ilk.

The companies will first sort out the technical details of the database, after which commences the sharing of identifiers on the database, due early 2017.

In the statement, all the companies clarified that if one company flags a particular material, it doesn't mean that the other company will automatically remove the material from its platform. Individual content policies of each company will still be implemented as a deciding factor in removing each material.

Previous Efforts To Wipe Out Terrorist Propaganda Online

This is not the first time these companies promised to sandblast their platforms free of terrorist propaganda. In May, Microsoft updated its terms of use as a countermeasure for terrorist content. In August, Facebook pledged to work with authorities to combat terrorism, spurred by the Germany attacks at the time.

Around the same time, Twitter also announced that it had suspended an additional 235,000 accounts on top of 125,000 accounts since mid-2015 for violent threats and terrorist propaganda.

According the four companies, other internet firms may potentially crowd the online database, too. If this happens, it'll be easier and faster for other platforms to remove terrorist material.

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