Internet ’giants’ to address ’critical challenge’ posed by the spread of terrorism online


Four internet giants have teamed up to tackle terrorism, pledging to make their services hostile to violent extremists. Facebook, Microsoft, YouTube and Twitter have formed the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism to address the “critical challenge” posed by the spread of terrorism online.

Internet companies have faced criticism in the wake of recent terror attacks, with calls for them to do more to ensure cyberspace is not a safe space for extremists. Information on how to mount a terror attack was found to be easily accessible online following the Westminster atrocity in March, and Prime Minister Theresa May has urged social media companies to remove terrorist content.

Earlier this month Britain’s top anti-terror policeman, Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Mark Rowley, echoed political concerns that terrorist material is too easily accessible online. Announcing the creation of the forum a blog post on Twitter read: “The spread of terrorism and violent extremism is a pressing global problem and a critical challenge for us all.

“We take these issues very seriously, and each of our companies have developed policies and removal practices that enable us to take a hard line against terrorist or violent extremist content on our hosted consumer services. “We believe that by working together, sharing the best technological and operational elements of our individual efforts, we can have a greater impact on the threat of terrorist content online.”

Among the plans the forum has vowed to work together on detecting content, researching future efforts on removing certain content, sharing knowledge, and helping smaller companies tackle online extremism. Welcoming the news Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: “This is a threat that transcends borders.
“That is why the Prime Minister is leading international efforts to tackle it.

“And that is why I urged the companies to step up and take the lead when I brought them together and hosted a roundtable about tackling this threat in March. “That call has been echoed by my counterparts from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the US, who I have met today.

“I hope the forum will lead to more co-ordinated action to develop technical solutions; improve detection; encourage joint working and the sharing of knowledge and best practice with smaller companies.

“There is more work to be done and I look forward to seeing how we can build on this very positive step forward.”