Facebook's British division on Friday announced a new initiative aimed at educating non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on fighting extremist content posted online. In addition to training people for countering Internet activities of extremists, the Menlo Park, California-based social media giant is also looking to directly finance their efforts of doing so. The company's Online Civil Courage Initiative is officially operational as of today and will start working with NGOs shortly, aiming to ultimately train additional manpower that may not be a part of the company but will still help it monitor its ever-growing social media platform with the goal of identifying and sanctioning content posted by terrorist organizations and other extremist groups. Involved NGOs will be provided with a support desk that will serve as their direct line of communication with the firm, Facebook said, implying how that decision will materialize shortly but without providing a more specific timeframe to accompany its latest announcement.
The introduction of the firm's new initiative comes shortly after UK started publicly pressuring U.S. social media giants over their alleged unwillingness to do more to assist authorities with identifying and apprehending potential and known terrorists. The now-former Home Affairs Select Committee called Facebook's approach to handling illegal content "shameful" in its report publicized in early May, with many government officials previously openly criticizing other social platforms including Twitter and Google+. All parties called out by the UK government have repeatedly stated that they're adamant to fight extremist content posted through their services, noting that they have already invested significant resources into accomplishing those goals. Facebook's Online Civil Courage Initiative can be seen as yet another move meant to back those claims, though some security analysts believe that the company and all other social media platforms must do more going forward, noting how extremists are still radicalizing people through their services, albeit to a lesser degree.
Tensions pertaining to terrorism remain high in the UK, with the Manchester Arena bombing occurring only a month ago and claiming lives of 23 people, many of whom were children, in addition to injuring 119 more. An update on the situation is expected to follow later this year.