Facebook is teaming with fellow tech titans Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube (owned by Google) to fight against the proliferation of Online Terrorist Content. The company has also taken space at the world’s largest start-up campus.
The world’s largest social media company has been under a great deal of scrutiny lately because of all of the fake new stories which blanketed its pages during the Presidential elections. And while Facebook and its owner Mark Zuckerberg have pledged to do something about it, it continues to be plagued by accusations that it arbitrarily censors the content of its users when it comes to matters of racism. So a move to curtail so called terrorist content could be misconstrued.
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The company announced the creation of a shared industry database of “hashes” — unique digital “fingerprints” — for what it describes as violent terrorist imagery or terrorist recruitment videos or images that it and its fellow companies have removed from their services.
Twitter, YouTube and Facebook hope that by sharing information they will be able to identify potential terrorist content faster and work better at removing such content from their platforms. In doing so, the companies hope to respond to concerns that their platforms help terrorists around the world to communicate with one another and to plan attacks.
In a blog post, Facebook stated that, “there is no place for content that promotes terrorism on our hosted consumer services. When alerted, we take swift action against this kind of content in accordance with our respective policies.”
This new initiative comes none too soon for Facebook which is threatened by $1 billion in lawsuits over terrorism. And the Israel Law Center has just launched a new YouTube campaign in support of the lawsuits.
But this move may anger those who have been critical of tech firms for their previous cooperation with governments in the war on terror. These critics have called such cooperation a violation of people’s right to privacy.
Facebook and the other companies say that they will be sharing hashes of “the most extreme and egregious terrorist images and videos” which they have already removed from their services and which they say violate all of their respective companies’ content policies.
Spotted this survey at the bottom of a Facebook post earlier. Must be part of a crackdown on clickbait. Interesting ????????♀️ pic.twitter.com/wZbLhof9k1
— Tom Fern (@_tomaf) December 2, 2016
This news comes as Facebook has been testing a new tool to fight against fake news stories. The Guardian has reported that a number of Facebook users have taken to Twitter over the past few days to dish on this new tool. It asks users to rank on a scale of one to five the extent to which they feel that a headline may have been misleading.
Maybe this is related to the plug-in that Facebook has been developing.
Meanwhile, CNBC has reported that Facebook has joined French billionaire Xavier Niel’s start-up campus in Paris, which is said to be the world’s largest. Called Station F, it will be located in a 350, 000 square foot former freight station and will be home to 1, 000 start-ups. The new firms will pay a little more than $200 per month to rent a desk there.