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Facebook and Microsoft fight online terrorist content

Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube will create a shared database to help track terrorist content on their online platforms.

Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube say they will create a database of terrorist content online to act more quickly whenever videos, imagery or other information appears on their platforms.

In a joint statement, the companies will share digital fingerprints called “hashes” for videos or images pulled from their platforms.

“We hope this collaboration will lead to greater efficiency as we continue to enforce our policies to help curb the pressing global issue of terrorist content online,” reads a portion of the statement.

While all four companies will share content they’ve banned on their respective platforms, each can individually decide whether the banned content violates their own policies. “Each company will continue to apply its own policies and definitions of terrorist content when deciding whether to remove content when a match to a shared hash is found,” says the statement.

Companies have already taken some steps to hamper the ability of terrorist organizations to promote their group or recruit members. In August, Twitter revealed it suspended 235,000 accounts for promoting extremism and terrorism.

The initiative arrives as tech companies faced increasing pressure to quickly remove terrorist content or hate speech. The European Union is pushing Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube to move faster in scrubbing illegal hate speech from their services, a reaction to recent terrorist attacks.

“The last weeks and months have shown that social media companies need to live up to their important role and take up their share of responsibility when it comes to phenomena like online radicalisation, illegal hate speech or fake news, “ Commissioner Věra Jourová said earlier this week.

Organizations such as ISIL use Facebook and Twitter to spread propaganda, to attract new recruits and celebrate terror attacks, and they’ve quickly adapted new technologies — such as Facebook Live — to reach members and publicize their actions.

First appeared on USAToday.



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