Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube agree to curb terror content online

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube said they will partner to curb the spread of terrorist content online.

“There is no place for content that promotes terrorism on our hosted consumer services. When alerted, we take swift action against this kind of content in accordance with our respective policies,” said a statement released Monday by the social media firms.

The companies said they will create a shared industry database of unique digital fingerprints, called hashes, for violent terrorist imagery or terrorist recruitment videos or images that were removed from their services.

“By sharing this information with each other, we may use the shared hashes to help identify potential terrorist content on our respective hosted consumer platforms,” the statement said.

Social media has become a tool for recruiting and radicalization by the Islamic State terror group and others.

The companies said they would start by sharing the “most extreme and egregious terrorist images and videos we have removed from our services.”

They added: “We are committed to protecting our users’ privacy and their ability to express themselves freely and safely on our platforms. We also seek to engage with the wider community of interested stakeholders in a transparent, thoughtful and responsible way as we further our shared objective to prevent the spread of terrorist content online while respecting human rights.”

The companies said they will each apply their own policies and definitions of terrorist content when deciding whether to remove content. Each also will apply its own “practice of transparency and review for any government requests, as well as retain its own appeal process for removal decisions and grievances.”

The program is expected to begin early next year. The companies said they would look to add other firms to the collaboration in the future.

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