Representatives of major tech companies met in Paris this week to commit to a nine-point plan to address the abuse of technology to spread terrorist content.
Following the terror attack in New Zealand that left more than 50 people dead and another 50 injured, world leaders have been calling for major tech companies to do more to curb the spread of terrorisms and extremism online.
As a result, this week, representatives from Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, Google, and Amazon, met with French President Emmanuel Macron and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, to sign up to the “Christchurch Call to Action,” and to commit to a nine-point plan of “concrete steps the industry will take to address the abuse of technology to spread terrorist content.”
The statement from all five companies reads:
“The terrorist attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March were a horrifying tragedy. And so it is right that we come together, resolute in our commitment to ensure we are doing all we can to fight the hatred and extremism that lead to terrorist violence.
The tech industry companies admit that terrorism and violent extremism are very complex problems, and they will need a response from society as a whole. However, they are showing commitment to strengthening their partnerships with Governments and society “to address this threat.”
The nine-point plan includes five individual actions and four collaborative actions for them as online content sharing service providers to commit to:
Five Individual Actions
User Reporting of Terrorist and Violent Extremist Content. We commit to establishing one or more methods within our online platforms and services for users to report or flag inappropriate content, including terrorist and violent extremist content. We will ensure that the reporting mechanisms are clear, conspicuous, and easy to use, and provide enough categorical granularity to allow the company to prioritize and act promptly upon notification of terrorist or violent extremist content.
Enhancing Technology. We commit to continuing to invest in technology that improves our capability to detect and remove terrorist and violent extremist content online, including the extension or development of digital fingerprinting and AI-based technology solutions.
Livestreaming. We commit to identifying appropriate checks on livestreaming, aimed at reducing the risk of disseminating terrorist and violent extremist content online. These may include enhanced vetting measures (such as streamer ratings or scores, account activity, or validation processes) and moderation of certain livestreaming events where appropriate. Checks on livestreaming necessarily will be tailored to the context of specific livestreaming services, including the type of audience, the nature or character of the livestreaming service, and the likelihood of exploitation.
Transparency Reports. We commit to publishing on a regular basis transparency reports regarding detection and removal of terrorist or violent extremist content on our online platforms and services and ensuring that the data is supported by a reasonable and explainable methodology.
Four Collaborative Actions
Shared Technology Development. We commit to working collaboratively across industry, governments, educational institutions, and NGOs to develop a shared understanding of the contexts in which terrorist and violent extremist content is published and to improve technology to detect and remove terrorist and violent extremist content more effectively and efficiently.
This will include:
- Work to create robust shared data sets to accelerate machine learning and AI and sharing insights and learnings from the data.
- Development of open source or other shared tools to detect and remove terrorist or violent extremist content.
- Enablement of all companies, large and small, to contribute to the collective effort and to better address detection and removal of this content on their platforms and services.
Crisis Protocols. We commit to working collaboratively across industry, governments, and NGOs to create a protocol for responding to emerging or active events, on an urgent basis, so relevant information can be quickly and efficiently shared, processed, and acted upon by all stakeholders with minimal delay. This includes the establishment of incident management teams that coordinate actions and broadly distribute information that is in the public interest.
Education. We commit to working collaboratively across industry, governments, educational institutions, and NGOs to help understand and educate the public about terrorist and extremist violent content online. This includes educating and reminding users about how to report or otherwise not contribute to the spread of this content online.
Combatting Hate and Bigotry. We commit to working collaboratively across industry to attack the root causes of extremism and hate online. This includes providing greater support for relevant research – with an emphasis on the impact of online hate on offline discrimination and violence – and supporting capacity and capability of NGOs working to challenge hate and promote pluralism and respect online.
Companies that currently support the Christchurch Call to Action are Amazon, Daily Motion, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Qwant, Twitter, and YouTube. In addition to the companies, 17 countries and the European Commission also support the Call to Action with their own specific commitments.
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