Tech firm forum agrees to collaborate online response to terror attacks

Tech firm forum agrees to collaborate online response to terror attacks

A forum created by technology firms to disrupt the spread of terrorist content online has announced new plans to collaborate responses to “active events” similar to the Christchurch terror attacks.

The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) said its members would now share information between platforms to help more quickly find and remove terror content during such incidents.

The forum, created by Facebook, YouTube, Microsoft and Twitter in 2017, says its objective is to help with disrupting the ability of terrorists to promote themselves and disseminate violent, extremist propaganda.

The collaboration scheme was first agreed to by technology firms during a summit between industry and governments in response to the Christchurch terror attacks in March – which were live-streamed and subsequently posted more widely online.

The meeting in Paris in May, named the Christchurch Call to Action, saw companies commit to a number of changes and new partnerships to help battle terrorist content spreading online, including investing in new detection technology to spot violent material.

In a progress report on the organisation, the GIFCT also said it has doubled the number of digitally-fingerprinted pieces of terror content in its databases this year.

The group said it had now “hashed” more than 200,000 images and videos, which helps to quickly identify and block such images from being posted online.

It said it was also expanding the database to include web addresses that “lead to known terrorist and violent extremist content online”.

The forum also announced the addition of Pinterest and Dropbox as members and confirmed the launch of a new toolkit to counter violent extremism, which it said could be used by other organisations to help challenge hate speech and violence online.

“Today, we are also rolling out a cross-platform counter-violent extremist toolkit that we jointly developed with the Institute for Strategic Dialogue. The toolkit will assist civil society organisations in developing online campaigns to challenge extremist ideologies while prioritising their safety,” the forum said.

“We know that the technology industry isn’t the best or most appropriate messengers when it comes to pushing back on violent extremists, which is why it’s so important to support civil society organisations that have the credibility and knowledge to combat to respond and counter the promotion of violent extremism online.”

- Press Association

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