Major tech companies collaborate on anti-terror database

Major tech companies collaborate on anti-terror database

Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT), of which Facebook and Microsoft are members, will now also actively collect data about right-wing extremist groups. They told this to Reuters news agency this week. In this way, the GIFCT wants to gain more insight into material posted by extreme right-wing groups. This also allows social media companies to intervene more quickly when messages are posted that violate their terms and conditions.

Until now, the organization’s focus has been mainly on gathering information about Islamic terror groups such as Al Qaeda, IS and the Taliban. But now the companies also want to actively add information about right-wing extremist groups such as the Proud Boys and neo-Nazis. The organization will supplement the database by using lists of the Five-Eyes countries. Based on these lists, they determine which organizations should be monitored.

Items that they will collect in the database include manifestos of attackers, videos, links, and PDF files that the groups share among themselves. In this way, other companies can identify and remove the same expressions more quickly on their own platform.

GIFCT was founded in 2017 after the Paris and Brussels attacks. At the time, there was a lot of criticism from governments on social media companies that would not do enough to combat terrorist expressions on their platforms. To respond to this, the GIFCT was founded. In collaboration, the tech companies want to build a database of terrorist material to prevent its spread.

So far, 14 major tech companies have access to the database, including Twitter, Google, Facebook, Reddit, Snapchat, Instagram, Verizon Media, LinkedIn, and Dropbox.

Social media platforms have been criticized from various quarters for their role in spreading terrorist material. That is why they want to use this database to prevent material from being online for too long. Yet there are also organizations that shudder at the new developments. Online human rights activists fear that such lists could lead to extreme censorship.

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