December 5, 2016
Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter on Monday announced they had joined forces in an attempt to curb explicit terrorist imagery online.
The move follows criticism from Brussels that big US social media groups have made insufficient effort to clamp down on hate speech.
In a statement, the technology groups said they were building new technology that would identify extremist content, including terrorist recruitment videos and images of executions, via a digital fingerprint known as a “hash”, which would then be compiled into a shared global database. Once created, the hash would be attached like a watermark to content, which would then be easy to identify and take down.
“Our companies will begin sharing hashes of the most extreme and egregious terrorist images and videos we have removed from our services,” the companies said. “By sharing this information with each other, we may use the shared hashes to help identify potential terrorist content on our respective hosted consumer platforms.”
The project will be presented at the EU Internet Forum on Thursday, with the database launching in early 2017.
The companies said the collaboration was not a knee-jerk response to European demands but had been under development for several months.