A group formed by big tech companies in the US, including Facebook and Microsoft, is compiling extremist content in a database in order to curb hate speech. Reuters reported that the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) aims to limit content from white supremacists and far-right militias.
In the past, the GIFCT focused primarily on visuals from groups listed by the United Nations. The website had contained content from Islamist extremist organizations like Islamic State, al Qaeda and the Taliban. In the months ahead, the GIFCT will insert attacker manifestos and other content flagged by UN’s ‘Tech Against Terrorism’ initiative. Attacker manifestos are generally shared by terror sympathizers after violent acts, especially those committed by white supremacists.
Additionally, the group will use lists from the intelligence-sharing group ‘Five Eyes’. Additional content from other groups such as The Three Percenters and Proud Boys will be added to the database. A grouping of firms uses ‘hashes’, which are numbers that represent the content that has been removed from their services. Accordingly, services can compare whether the same content is being carried on their platforms, which can then be reviewed or removed.
How can this be achieved?
As part of the ongoing project, major platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube will be able to contain extremist content. Even then, violent images and hate speech may be spread across the internet. GIFCT’s Executive Director Nicholas Rasmussen said in an interview with Reuters that he wants to combat a variety of threats. In Rasmussen’s view, any analysis of terrorism or extremism has to account for other parts of the landscape right now that demand the attention of policymakers.
The tech industry has been hammered for ineffectiveness when confronting hate speech on their platforms and how these platforms can harm real people. In the meantime, the companies have to contend with concerns about censorship.