Facebook, Twitter, Google In Social Media Gang-up Against Terrorists | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Facebook, Twitter, Google In Social Media Gang-up Against Terrorists

Posted: Dec 7, 2015 at 7:50 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Facebook, Google and Twitter have agreed to team to combat online propaganda messages and recruitment of Islamic militants.

Speaking on Monday in New York , the companies said they were doing it quietly to avoid the perception that they were helping the authorities police the web.

Facebook Inc. said it took down a profile that the company believed belonged to San Bernardino shooter Tashfeen Malik, who with her husband was accused of killing 14 people in a mass shooting that the FBI was investigating as an act of terrorism.

“In the San Bernardino case, we took down Malik’s profile, established under an alias, for violating its community standards, which prohibit praise or promotion of “acts of terror.

It said that earlier, the French prime minister and European Commission officials, met separately with the three Internet companies and other companies to demand faster action on what the commission called “online terrorism incitement and hate speech”.

Facebook said that the Internet companies described their policies as straightforward.

“We ban certain types of content in accordance with their own terms of service, and require court orders to remove or block anything beyond that.

“Facebook banned this year any content praising terrorists. Anyone can report, or flag, content for review and possible removal,’’ it said.

The trios, Facebook, Google and Twitter say they do not treat government complaints differently from citizen complaints, unless the government obtains a court order.

Wong, a former Twitter and Google Legal Executive, noted that technology companies were rightfully cautious because they were global players.

“If they build it for one purpose they don’t get to say it can’t be used for anything else. If you build it, they will come – it will also be used in China to stop dissidents,” he said.

A spokesman said there have been some formal policy changes.

He said that Twitter revised its abuse policy to ban indirect threats of violence, in addition to direct threats, and has dramatically improved its speed for handling abuse requests.

“Across the board we respond to requests more quickly, and it’s safe to say government requests are in that bunch.

A French-speaking activist using the Twitter said he helped get rid of thousands of YouTube videos, by spreading links of clear cases of policy violations and enlisting other volunteers to report them.

“The more it gets reported, the more it will get reviewed quickly and treated as an urgent case.

Nick Bilogorskiy, former Facebook Security Officer, said it has suspended or restricted the accounts of many pro-Western Ukrainians, after they were accused of hate speech by multiple Russian-speaking.

“Some child pornography can be blocked because the technology companies have access to a database that identifies previously known images. A similar type of system is in place for copyrighted music.

“There is no database for videos of violent acts, and the same footage that might violate a social network’s terms of service if uploaded by an anonymous militant might pass if it were part of a news broadcast,’’ he said.

Nicole Wong, who previously served as the White House’s Deputy Chief Technology Officer, said that tech companies would be reluctant to create a database of jihadists videos, even if it could be kept current enough to be relevant.

He said that this was for fear that repressive governments would demand such set-ups to pre-screen any content they do not like.

Wong said that the truth was far more subtle and complicated.

According to former employees, Facebook, Google and Twitter all worry that if they are public about their true level of cooperation with Western law enforcement agencies they would face endless demands for similar action from countries around the world.