Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube announced plans Monday to team up to combat terrorism.
Their plans include the creation of a Global Internet Forum that has one primary mission: make Facebook, Twitter and other web-based services we use every day hostile for terrorists and violent extremists.
Fighting online fire with fire is certainly not an innovative concept. It’s also not the first time one of the leading technology platforms announced plans to fight terrorism. But it’s clear that some companies are stepping up the fight.
On June 18, Google announced four steps. It’s worth noting that Google owns YouTube, a member in the aforementioned Forum. Google’s four steps include:
To that last step, Kent Waller, general counsel at Google, said, “Building on our successful Creators for Change program promoting YouTube voices against hate and radicalization, we are working with Jigsaw to implement the ‘Redirect Method’ more broadly.”
Jigsaw, formerly known as Google Ideas, is Google’s think tank.
What Waller is referring to is targeted online advertising to reach potential terrorist organization recruits. Recruits are redirected to anti-terrorist videos.
“In previous deployments of this system, potential recruits have clicked through on the ads at an unusually high rate,” Waller said. “[They] watched over half a million minutes of video content that debunks terrorist recruiting messages.”
Google’s steps are impressive, but the level of cooperation among Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube in the creation of the Forum is laudable. Think of it as the CIA, FBI and the NSA actually sharing information with each other.
In the joint statement released Monday, Forum members identified their mission, and suggested that their scope will evolve as terrorists evolve.
Similar to Google’s steps, the Forum plans to focus on three primary areas:
Dr. Adam C. Earnheardt is special assistant to the provost and professor of communication in the department of communication at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, USA where he also directs the graduate program in professional communication. He researches and writes on a variety of topics including communication technologies, relationships, and sports (with an emphasis on fandom). His work has appeared in Mahoning Matters as well as The Vindicator and Tribune-Chronicle newspapers.