Facebook & Twitter's Forum On Countering Extremists Starts

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The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) will hold its first meeting later today, as announced on Monday by Twitter, one of the main sponsors of the initiative meant to combat online extremism and entities that promote it. Initially established in late June, the forum was described as the Silicon Valley's latest effort to become better at identifying and sanctioning extremist content posted online. The project is backed by Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Microsoft, in addition to being supported by a number of political organizations worldwide, many of which previously pressured the U.S. tech giants to establish such an initiative.

Political pressure to combat online extremism that a number of major social media platforms experienced in recent times was largely prompted by several terrorist attacks conducted over the course of this year, with Europe being the most significantly affected continent and some EU members including the United Kingdom, France, and Germany suffering civilian casualties in 2017. With many of those attacks reportedly being conducted by people who were radicalized by various terrorist organizations and associated entities on the World Wide Web, the European Union started advocating for a more stricter system of policing the Internet and most major social media services in the world are said to have agreed to its initial requests. With the political bloc now looking to take the next step in countering online extremism, UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd is going to attend the inaugural meeting of the GIFCT and discuss related measures with senior executives of YouTube, its parent Google, and several other tech companies from the United States. Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke is also expected to attend the summit alongside UN representatives, previous reports indicated.

The GIFCT itself will be discussing ways to combine certain technological solutions in an effort to do a better job at detecting extremist content posted online. The approach will entail machine learning, computer vision, and a number of general artificial intelligence (AI) services, GIFCT members previously said, without elaborating on the matter. It's currently unclear whether the forum intends to hold another workshop this year, though the frequency of its meetings will likely depend on how satisfied global political structures are with its efforts to combat Internet extremism.

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