Microsoft, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter Have Launched a New Counter Terrorism Initiative

Al Arabiya
Microsoft, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have all attended various summits and discussions about counter-terrorism recently. Most of them have resulted in a lot of promises, but few actual results. With pressure mounting against all four companies to do more in the wake of a slew of recent attacks, they've taken another step, but this one looks to be more significant. They've formed The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism.

The forum has been set up to continue expanding various initiatives that the companies have laid out individually, but also to communicate with each other openly on how they're continuing to find new ways to locate extremist content, delete it, ban users and discourage potential recruits from joining up (known as "counter-narrative"). Governments, agencies and global organisations will also be able to use the forum to keep track of developments.

The key idea is to pass ideas back and forth so that all four companies can make sure they're doing at least as well as the other three. Idea sharing isn't exactly a typical habit in the tech world, but when it's in service of something as important as counter-terrorism, exceptions can be made. The forum also plans to work directly with the UN, running workshops to get their in-house counter-terrorism department up to speed on everything they're doing.

The original Internet Forum was launched by the EU two years ago, and the new one is meant to expand on that partnership. Additionally, this will make it easier for governments to actually monitor what the companies are doing to prevent terrorist recruitment, which has been a major sticking point of late.

Tech companies don't like sharing information with government bodies, but at this stage in the game it's impossible to deny that social media has a big hand in the spread of extremist ideas and even terrorist attacks. This new forum could be construed as a kind of compromise, in that sense.

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