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Top Social Media Networks in US working together to Remove Photos and Videos used to Recruit People into Terrorism

Twitter suspended 235,000 accounts between February and August this year and has expanded the teams reviewing reports of extremist content

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FILE - A 3-D printed logo of Twitter and an Islamic State flag are seen in this picture illustration taken Feb. 18, 2016. VOA

December 6, 2016: The top social media networks in the United States say they are working together to quickly identify and take down photos and video that are used to recruit people into terrorism.

Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and YouTube announced Monday that they will create a shared database that identifies flagged images and video using unique “fingerprints,” making it easier for the companies to review and potentially remove the content.

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They said each company will then determine whether the material violates their terms of service.

“We hope this collaboration will lead to greater efficiency as we continue to enforce our policies to help curb the pressing global issue of terrorist content online,” the companies said in a statement. “There is no place for content that promotes terrorism on our hosted consumer services.”

FILE - An Islamic State militant holds a gun while standing behind what are said to be Ethiopian Christians in Wilayat Fazzan, in this still image from an undated video made available on a social media website on April 19, 2015. VOA
FILE – An Islamic State militant holds a gun while standing behind what are said to be Ethiopian Christians in Wilayat Fazzan, in this still image from an undated video made available on a social media website on April 19, 2015. VOA

The internet giants have come under increasing pressure from governments around the world to do more to remove extremist material.

In the United States, lawmakers have introduced legislation that would require social media companies to report to police any online terrorist activities they learn about.

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Most social media services have terms of agreement that prohibit content that supports violent or illegal activities. The companies typically rely on users to flag inappropriate content, which is then reviewed by editors.

Twitter suspended 235,000 accounts between February and August this year and has expanded the teams reviewing reports of extremist content.

The new database will be up and running by early 2017, and more companies could be brought into the partnership.

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The European Union set up an EU Internet Forum last year bringing together the internet companies, interior ministers and the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator to find ways of removing extremist content.

The forum will meet again Thursday, when ministers are expected to ask the companies about their efforts and helping to provide evidence to convict foreign fighters. (VOA)

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Twitter Blocks Accounts of Major Iran News Agencies

The micro-blogging site said all the account sets were originated in Iran

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Twitter, India, Smartphone
Twitter on a smartphone device. Pixabay

Twitter has blocked accounts of some major Iran news agencies over alleged harassment of people who follow the Baha’i faith.

The agencies speculated the blocking of their accounts occurred after British-flagged oil tanker was seized by the country in the Strait of Hormuz amid heightened tensions in the Gulf.

Persian language Twitter accounts of the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Mehr News agency and the Young Journalists Club (YJC) news outlet were suspended due to Twitter rule violations, Sputnik News reported on Sunday.

Some media reports said the accounts were suspended for targeted harassment of people associated with Baha’i — a minority faith in Iran.

According to the English edition of Mehr News, the two agency’s accounts (@MehrDiplomacy and @MehrNews_FA) were blocked for unknown reasons.

Twitter users noted that state-run media IRNA (@irna_1313) and the YJC (@yjcagency) accounts have also been suspended.

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FILE – A man reads tweets on his phone in front of a displayed Twitter logo. VOA

Twitter was yet to issue an official statement on this.

The accounts were blocked after Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps seized the tanker Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz for violating international maritime regulations.

In June, Twitter pulled down almost 5,000 accounts suspected of being directly run or linked to the Iranian government.

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The micro-blogging site said all the account sets were originated in Iran.

Twitter cracked down on a total of 4,779 pages and it took down at least 1,666 accounts in set one that originated in Iran. Cumulatively, these accounts tweeted nearly two million times. (IANS)