Snapchat joins Facebook and GIFCT to fight terrorism

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snapchat facebook gifct terrorism

Image by Jussi Mononen / Flickr-by-CC-SA

Snapchat creator Snap Inc has reportedly joined internet giants Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter to counter terrorist and extremist activities online.

TechCrunch reports that the multinational camera company has enlisted to the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism to fight radicals spreading ideologies on their platforms.

The internet giants formed the GIFCT last month. Today, August 1, it will host a workshop with other tech companies such as Snap Inc. They also invited NGOs and government organizations.

With GIFCT, tech companies can share digital prints of terrorist and extremist content such as photos and videos. Once one company finds prohibited content, the other members can block it from spreading to their own platform.

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Microsoft published the following message: “Our mission is to substantially disrupt terrorists’ ability to use the Internet in furthering their causes, while also respecting human rights.”

Today, the team will hold its first workshop in San Francisco. Guests include UK Home secretary Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP and US Acting Homeland Security secretary Elaine Duke. Other participants are representatives of the EU, UN, Australia and Canada. At the event, the tech giants will offer support and work with smaller companies and organizations.

Future Plans

According to the report, the group aims to add three tech companies other than Snap and JustPaste.it. It also wants to push 50 companies to share best practices against extremist and terrorist content, and to plan four workshops to impart knowledge.

The key to prevent radical content from slipping through algorithms is to improve automation. Tech giants have to develop better moderation and deletion techniques to block terrorist content.

Facebook hires thousands of people to separate reported content, but they often work double-quick to sift through endless lists of heavy images. It can damage them emotionally.

Best practices combined with a shared hash database eases work for humans. It can also improve the accuracy and speed of removing terrorist propaganda.

These rivals and competitors have put aside differences to make the digital space a better place to live in. The GIFCT will see close rivals Snap and Facebook share data and strategies to stop the spread of violent ideologies.

Cooperation can help strengthen the boundary between free speech from violence. But removing content that incite violence may affect how algorithms sort nonstop news about terrorist attacks in news feeds such as those in Facebook and Twitter.

We have insatiable curiosities. We tend to seek more info on dangerous things and events. But when we dive deeper into details of global terrorist attacks, we gain a good understanding of their prevalence and the danger they impose.

The challenge for the GIFCT is how its algorithms will curate news and commentary on terrorism. It has to allow free speech, distribute unbiased info and permit discussions on sensitive topics without sacrificing engagement.


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Author: Francis Rey

A network engineer by profession, Franz voraciously reads anything that piques his curiosity. He has authored a horde of articles on social media marketing. He spends downtime on road trips and binges with his significant other.

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