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.”
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)