Terrorism and Social Media: Is Big Tech Doing Enough? Efforts by YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter to Remove Terrorist Content Using Artificial Intelligence (AI), White Supremacist Propaganda and Hate
Islamic terrorist groups have been aggressive in seeking to radicalize and recruit over various social media platforms. The companies that our witnesses represent have a very difficult task: preserving the environment of openness upon on which their platforms have thrived, while seeking to responsibly manage and thwart the actions of those who would use their services for evil. More
This excellent report has been professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction. An important hearing before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation in 2018, Terrorism and Social Media: Is Big Tech Doing Enough? is reproduced here. This compilation includes a reproduction of the 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community. Contents: Monika Bickert, Head of Product Policy and Counterterrorism, Facebook, Juniper Downs, Director, Public Policy and Government Relations, Youtube, Carlos Monje, Jr., Director, Public Policy and Philanthropy, U.S. and Canada, Twitter, and Clint Watts, Robert A. Fox Fellow, Foreign Policy Research Institute.
The Chairman stated: The positive contributions of social media platforms are well documented. YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, among others, help to connect people around the world, give voice to those oppressed by totalitarian regimes, and provide a forum for discussions of every political, social, scientific, and cultural stripe. These services have thrived online because of the freedom made possible by the uniquely American guarantee of free speech and by a light touch regulatory policy. But, as is so often the case, enemies of our way of life have sought to take advantage of our freedoms to advance hateful causes. Violent Islamic terrorist groups like ISIS have been particularly aggressive in seeking to radicalize and recruit over the Internet and various social media platforms. The companies that our witnesses represent have a very difficult task: preserving the environment of openness upon on which their platforms have thrived, while seeking to responsibly manage and thwart the actions of those who would use their services for evil. We are here today to explore how they are doing that, what works, and what could be improved. Instances of Islamic terrorists using social media platforms to organize, instigate, and inspire are well documented. For example, the killer responsible for the Orlando nightclub shooting, in which 49 innocent people were murdered and 53 were injured, was reportedly inspired by digital material that was readily available on social media.
The companies before us are increasingly using technology to speed up their efforts to identify and neutralize the spread of terrorist content. In a recent blog post, Facebook said that artificial intelligence now removes 99 percent of ISIS and al Qaeda related terror content even before it can be flagged by a member of the community and sometimes even before it can be seen by any users. YouTube is also teaming up with Jigsaw, the in-house think tank of Google's parent company Alphabet, to test a new method of counter-radicalization referred to as the Redirect Method. Seeking to redirect or refocus potential terrorists at an earlier stage in the radicalization process, YouTube offers users searching for specific terrorist information additional videos made specifically to deter them from becoming radicalized.
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