Twitter, Facebook and others form global counterterrorism coalition

27 Jun 2017

Person laying flowers at memorial for the 2015 Paris attacks. Image: Nazar Gonchar/Shutterstock

Silicon Valley players have joined together to create a counterterrorism unit for a focused response to some of the worst online activities.

Over the past few months, many of the tech industry’s biggest names – including Twitter, Facebook and Google – have come forward with their own programmes detailing how they plan to tackle the growth of terrorist activities online.

Following the home-grown attacks that occurred in Europe in recent years, there is serious concern that ISIS is using the internet – and social media in particular – to recruit new members remotely.

Future Human

Now, in an effort to create some harmony, many of these major social media and tech companies are forming a new coalition called the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism.

Twitter, Facebook, Microsoft and Google-owned YouTube have joined the coalition, which will see the companies share both technology and operational activities.

“It will formalise and structure existing and future areas of collaboration between our 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,” it said in a statement.

Working together to tackle terrorism

Speaking specifically about some of the shared technologies, the coalition said that it will refine and improve existing joint technical work, such as the Shared Industry Hash Database, and define standard transparency reporting methods for terrorist content removal.

It will also be working directly with governments, civil society groups, academics and other companies to share information about the latest terrorist activities.

“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 organisations and individuals, who may be engaged in similar work and support ongoing efforts such as the civil society empowerment project (CSEP).”

One of the technologies that the group is likely to share is artificial intelligence, something Facebook recently said it believed would be key to tackling the rise of hate speech and terrorist recruitment online.

Person laying flowers at memorial for the 2015 Paris attacks. Image: Nazar Gonchar/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic