The internet has been a huge blessing for most of us, giving access to unlimited information in milliseconds, spawning a massive social media user base and letting us do things that were unthinkable by our parents and grandparents.
But the web has also been a fertile breeding ground for those who are intent on spreading terror and fear around the world, and recruiting more terrorists in the process.
In a joint effort comprising technology majors Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter, the coalition has made a pact to share information between themselves so terrorist content can effectively be fought and suppressed.
The companies will share each other’s flagged terrorist content with others in the coalition so a concerted effort can be made to remove potentially dangerous posts, imagery, videos and other forms of online content.
The shared digital database they intend to set up will allow each of them to quickly act on offensive content across their web properties. For example, a flagged terrorist video posted to Twitter can be prevented from appearing later on YouTube or Facebook.
As individual entities, it has been extremely hard to launch a coordinated offensive against terrorist content, but the shared database is now expected to make the process a lot easier to handle.
How prevalent is terrorist content on major websites and social platforms?
“According to a study by Gabriel Weimann from the University of Haifa, nearly 90% of organized terrorism on the internet takes place via social media.” – Source: Wikipedia
The Taliban, for example, had a Twitter account dating back to 2011. It is currently suspended but had a following of 7,000 when it was still live.
Another known terrorist organization, Al Shabaab, has also had a Twitter account since 2011, and at its peak had tens of thousands of followers and tweeted quite frequently until it was shut down.
There are numerous such examples of terrorist organizations using social media to attract followers and gain sympathy for their cause.
The proliferation hasn’t stopped, and despite the fact that the fight against such content has stepped up in recent years, what the effort needed was missing until now.
With the new coalition against terrorist content, such content will, hopefully, reduce over a period of time.
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