As a collective effort to fight against terrorism, major technological companies have banded together to form on a new battlefront. Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube announced yesterday that they are forming the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, a combined initiative that seeks to collaborate solutions against hostile and violent extremists.
The major tech leaders have released three major bullet points of their intentions, the commitment including using engineering and information to the common goal.
- Technological solutions: Our companies will work together to refine and improve existing joint technical work, such as the Shared Industry Hash Database; exchange best practices as we develop and implement new content detection and classification techniques using machine learning; and define standard transparency reporting methods for terrorist content removals.
- Research: We will commission research to inform our counter-speech efforts and guide future technical and policy decisions around the removal of terrorist content.
- Knowledge-sharing: We will work with counter-terrorism experts including governments, civil society groups, academics and other companies to engage in shared learning about terrorism. And through a joint partnership with the U.N. Security Council Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (U.N. CTED) and the ICT4Peace Initiative, we are establishing a broad knowledge-sharing network to:
- Engage with smaller companies: We will help them develop the technology and processes necessary to tackle terrorist and extremist content online.
- Develop best practices: We already partner with organizations such as the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Anti-Defamation League and Global Network Initiative to identify how best to counter extremism and online hate, while respecting freedom of expression and privacy. We can socialize these best practices, and develop additional shared learnings on topics such as community guideline development, and policy enforcement.
- Counterspeech: Each of us already has robust counterspeech initiatives in place (e.g., YouTube’s Creators for Change, Jigsaw’s Redirect Method, Facebook’s P2P and OCCI, Microsoft’s partnership with the Institute for Strategic Dialogue for counter-narratives on Bing, Twitter’s global NGO training program). The forum we have established allows us to learn from and contribute to one another’s counterspeech efforts, and discuss how to further empower and train civil society organizations and individuals who may be engaged in similar work and support ongoing efforts such as the Civil society empowerment project (CSEP).
"We believe that by working together, sharing the best technological and operational elements of our individual efforts, we can have a greater impact on the threat of terrorist content online," summed up the press release on the official YouTube blog.
Microsoft, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter are working in tandem with other initiative such as the EU Internet Forum and the Shared Industry Hash database, as well as governments. Furthermore, they hope to evolve their Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism initiative over time as they hone into specifics. More information will be revealed about the GIFCT through workshops, schedules of which have yet to be announced.