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Tech giants forge alliance to combat online terrorist content

Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and Google-owned YouTube agree to share a database of terrorist content.
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Facebook is forming an alliance with Microsoft, Twitter and Google-ownedYouTube to combat the proliferation of terrorist content online, the company said in a news release.

The online corporate giants are creating a shared database of “hashes,” unique digital fingerprints, for terrorist images and recruitment videos, including those that have been removed from their sites, according to Facebook.

“There is no place for content that promotes terrorism on our hosted consumer services, the news release reads.

Each company will independently decide what images and video hashes to submit to the shared database, Facebook officials said. The companies stress that they will remain committed to protecting the privacy of people who use their platforms.

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“No personally identifiable information will be shared, and matching content will not be automatically removed,” the Facebook release states. “Each company will continue to apply its own policies and definitions of terrorist content when deciding whether to remove content when a match to a shared hash is found,”

Each company will follow its own policies on transparency and review for any government requests for information about posted content, the company stated.

In a related matter, Facebook faces a federal court date next month in Brooklyn pertaining to a class-action lawsuit filed by Shurat HaDin-The Israel Law Center. The lawsuit accuses Facebook of helping the terror group Hamas launch attacks in Israel.

Facebook has asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, founder of the law center, told Metro in an email that Facebook’s announcement of the shared database is “a step in the right direction,” but fails to compensate for the harm already done to victims of terrorism.

“Facebook should absolutely move forward with this database to share digital markers and remove terrorist content, but it’s no substitute for shutting down terrorists’ social media accounts,” she said. “Social media platforms should be denying services to terrorists – and should be held accountable for aiding, abetting and inciting terrorism,”

The law center released a video on YouTube on Monday to urge people to learn about its legal battle against Facebook.

Attorneys representing Facebook in the case didn’t respond to a request for comment by press time.

In August, a California judge dismissed a lawsuit accusing Twitter of providing material support of ISIS. The suit was filed by the family of an American contractor killed during an ISIS attack in Jordan.

 
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