Major Big Tech platforms just announced they are forming a new counterterrorism unit to crack down on extremist material from white supremacists and “far-right militia groups. The news first reported by Reuters, notes that Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, Google, and YouTube will all add content to a database to track the groups.
Previously, the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism’s (GIFCT) database honed in on content by terrorist groups on a United Nations list. The main groups being tracked were organizations like Islamic State, al Qaeda, and the Taliban.
According to Reuters, 14 big tech companies will be able to access the database.
Since the Jan. 6th Capitol riot big tech platforms have cracked down on far-right “extremist content.” Most major platforms also banned former President Trump while still allowing violent rhetoric to run rampant. The platforms have been criticized by Republican lawmakers for continually censoring conservative voices while allowing far-left radicals to freely post without consequence.
According to Business Insider:
Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, a nonprofit that counts the tech giants among its members, is expanding a shared database used to identify extremist content across platforms with data gathered on white supremacist groups: manifestos, publications, lists of users, and unique pieces of content that were already removed from other services.
By adding that intel to the database, services like Facebook, Google’s YouTube, and Twitter intend to more quickly remove it from their own platforms.
The database addition puts white nationalist and extremist groups in the same database alongside internationally recognized terrorism groups like Al Qaeda and Hamas.
The non-profit says it’s aware of and attempting to tread lightly around potential censorship concerns. “Over-achievement in this takes you in the direction of violating someone’s rights on the internet to engage in free expression,” GIFCT’s Executive Director Nicholas Rasmussen told Reuters.