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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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About 25% Tweets Regarding Climate Change are Produced by Bots, Reveals Study

The study could not identify the people responsible for setting up the bots that were trained to post climate denial messages on Twitter

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The researchers found that only five per cent of tweets advocating action to protect the environment were produced by bots. Pixabay

A lot of messages denying the effects of global warming might actually have been written by bots as new research from Brown University in the US found that about 25 per cent of the tweets about climate change that they analysed were produced by automated accounts.

Bots are non-personal or automated accounts that post content to social media platforms.

While the findings of the study are yet to be published, The Guardian newspaper reported them after seeing the draft study.

The results suggest that online conversations about climate change are often distorted due to the activities of the bots.

According to a report in the BBC on Saturday, the research team at Brown University analysed 6.5 million tweets from around the time US President Donald Trump revealed his intention to remove the US from the Paris climate accord in 2017.

The analysis showed a quarter of tweets on climate change were likely posted by bots.

“These findings suggest a substantial impact of mechanized bots in amplifying denials messages about climate change, including support for Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris agreement,” stated the draft study, according to The Guardian.

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A lot of messages denying the effects of global warming might actually have been written by bots as new research from Brown University in the US found that about 25 per cent of the tweets about climate change that they analysed were produced by automated accounts. Pixabay

The study could not identify the people responsible for setting up the bots that were trained to post climate denial messages on Twitter.

For the study, the researchers used a tool from Indiana University called Botometer, which uses an algorithm to assign a score to Twitter accounts based upon the likelihood they are automated.

ALSO READ: Google Indexes Invite Links To Private Group Chat on WhatsApp With a Simple Search

The researchers found that only five per cent of tweets advocating action to protect the environment were produced by bots. (IANS)