The world’s biggest social networks are teaming up to spot terrorist propaganda and prevent it from spreading online.
It was announced on Monday that Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and YouTube will create a database of digital “fingerprints” which will make it easier for the companies to identify videos or images that could be taken down from their platforms, The Independent reports.
In a joint statement, the companies said, “There is no place for content that promotes terrorism on our hosted consumer services. When alerted, we take swift action against this kind of content in accordance with our respective policies.”
When content flagged by the database is shared between the participating companies, they can use the “fingerprints” system to quickly find the same content on their services. Once identified, the companies can decide to either delete the material or even disable the account.
The content highlighted in the database will not be automatically removed from the platforms, however. Each company will determine whether it breaches their policies before it disappears.
The new movement, which is expected to come into effect in 2017, comes after government concerns over social media content that has been linked with advocating terrorist recruitment and radicalisation.
“We really are going after the most obvious serious content that is shared online — that is, the kind of recruitment videos and beheading videos more likely to be against all our content policies,” Sally Aldous, a spokeswoman for Facebook, said.
However, social networks have faced criticism for not doing enough to prevent the spread of terrorist propaganda on their platforms, despite the introduction of new rules.
Earlier this year, the companies agreed to review hateful online content within 24 hours of being notified and in August, Twitter announced it had suspended 235,000 accounts which violated their policies.
This latest step towards curbing terrorism online is the most significant yet, and it’s one that will be welcomed by many.