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Google, Facebook, Twitter Promise to Crack Down on Terrorist Content Online

In a meeting with Amber Rudd, the British Home Secretary, tech companies including Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft promised to crack down on terrorist content being accessible on the internet after the Westminster attacker, Khalid Massood, reportedly found tips as to how to orchestrate such an attack online.

Rudd called the meeting between the tech giants, along with a group of smaller companies who the government refused to name. In an email statement, Rudd said that “we focused on the issue of access to terrorist propaganda online and the very real and evolving threat it poses.” After the

After the meeting, the companies set out a range of ideas as to how to tackle terrorist threats. They promised to create new “technical tools to identify and remove terrorist propaganda,” along with looking at “all options for structuring a forum to accelerate and strengthen” their work to tackle online extremism.” In regards to the smaller companies that were at the meeting, the bigger corporations assured the government that they would “enhance and broaden the current informal collaboration sessions that companies already conduct,” sharing “expertise and experiences of more established” internet companies with younger internet businesses. “Working against terrorism is not a competitive issue within the industry,” the statement highlighted. “We pledge to engage the wider ecosystem of companies that face these challenges.”

In regards to the smaller companies that were at the meeting, the bigger corporations assured the government that they would “enhance and broaden the current informal collaboration sessions that companies already conduct,” sharing “expertise and experiences of more established” internet companies with younger internet businesses.

“Working against terrorism is not a competitive issue within the industry,” the statement highlighted. “We pledge to engage the wider ecosystem of companies that face these challenges.”

It’s not just tech companies that would be involved in the fight, however. The statement pointed out that the groups together would “support the efforts of civil society organisations to promote alternative and counter-narratives” against extremism online:

Our companies are committed to making our platforms a hostile space for those who seek to do harm, and we have been working on this issue for several years. We share the government’s commitment to ensuring terrorists do not have a voice online.

The Home Secretary seemed rather pleased with the progress that they had made in the meeting but highlighted that there was still work to be done:

I said I wanted to see this tackled head-on and I welcome the commitment from the key players to set up a cross-industry forum that will help to do this… My starting point is pretty straightforward. I don’t think that people who want to do us harm should be able to use the internet or social media to do so. I want to make sure we are doing everything we can to stop this. In taking forward this work I’d like to see the industry to go further and faster in not only removing online terrorist content but stopping it going up in the first place… I’d also like to see more support for smaller and emerging platforms to do this as well, so they can no longer be seen as an alternative shop floor by those who want to do us harm.

It was revealed that the Home Secretary brought up the matter of encryption during the meeting, claiming that there would be no “safe spaces” for terrorists. This came after information came out that showed that Massood reportedly used Whatsapp only minutes before the attack commenced. Currently, the Facebook-owned messaging company has not handed over the information, despite claiming they would “co-operate fully” with the police.

Rudd said in a statement, “I am clear that Government and industry need to work more closely together on this issue so that law enforcement and the intelligence agencies can get access to the data they need to keep us safe.” Her office said that the matter will be discussed more in separate talks.

 

Jack Hadfield is a student at the University of Warwick and a regular contributor to Breitbart Tech. You can like his page on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @ToryBastard_ or on Gab @JH.

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