The world’s four biggest internet and tech giant firms announced on Monday that they are joining forces simply to try to stop all the extremist propaganda from being spread on their services and platforms.
Facebook, Twitter And YouTube To Join Forces On Takedown Of Terror Content
Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, and YouTube are teaming up to limit the distribution of online terrorist material. The Internet giants will create a database of hashes (a kind of “fingerprint” to identify a specific file) to help automatically identify videos or images so the companies could remove them easily.
According to the announcement, once added to the database, “other participating companies can also use these hashes to identify this type of content on their services, simply it will help other sites to identify violent or extremist material before it is shared.”
No personal information will be shared, and the content identified will not be automatically deleted, with the decision to remove them from each company. Even other online services will be also encouraged to join the project.
According to the Daily Mail “The move by the technology companies, which is expected to begin in early 2017, aims to assuage government concerns — and derail proposed new federal legislation — over social media content that is seen as increasingly driving terrorist recruitment and radicalization, while also balancing free-speech issues”.
Each participating company may also contribute independently to determine which hashes of images and videos should be included in the database. However, as reported by the Ars Technica, “Companies were decided that they will not tell any details of how this process occurs in practice”.
This could cause some controversy in the future, since, contrary to what occurs with similar projects to combat child pornography sharing on the Internet, defining what actually is a terrorist content may result in censorship in cases as when the material disclosed is controversial, but it will be within the legality.
According to the announcement, the goal of the project is to increase companies efforts simply to “protect users’ privacy and their ability to express themselves freely and safely on our platforms. We also seek to engage with the wider community of interested stakeholders in a transparent, thoughtful and responsible way as we further our shared objective to prevent the spread of terrorist content online while respecting human rights”. Moreover, if you want to analyze more then you can find the full announcement from here.