Social media companies update policies on blocking extremism

Social media companies update policies on blocking extremism

If you can’t beat them, silence them.

That’s the foundation for a couple social media giants’ newest policies targeting extremist content, skirting a delicate balance between freedom of expression and helping people spread dangerous rhetoric.

Google, which owns YouTube, announced yesterday that it would dedicate more resources to identify and remove videos in violation of its community guidelines, which warn against “crossing the line” with any content that is violent, graphic or hateful.

Content will be monitored by propaganda experts and technology, such as computer-based video analysis.

Google’s new policy is also stricter for non-violent videos that include religious or racial prejudice. They can’t be removed, but a warning before viewing will now pop up, users can not recommend or comment on them and advertising is restricted — the original policy’s lone stipulation.

Facebook also relies on man and machine to quell extremist posts. Artificial intelligence uses image matching and linguistic-based techniques to avoid users posting any content that supports terrorism. It will also detect new fake accounts made by people who were previously deactivated and eradicate “terrorist clusters” by identifying and removing accounts that interacted with accounts disabled for terrorism.

© Provided by Dennis Publishing LimitedUsers contribute by reporting potentially harmful content and identifying threats. The company also has more than 150 people — including former prosecutors and law enforcement employees — focusing most of their time on countering terrorism.

These advances were announced in light of recent terror attacks in Manchester and London — the latest occurring early this morning in Finsbury Park. Prime Minister Theresa May has responded with a stern message for social media outlets: find out a way to curtail these posts on social media, although there’s limits on what government can actually do.

Both companies’ sheer popularity make it a grandiose task. Nearly two billion people post on Facebook monthly in more than 80 languages, according to a blog post about its new tactics. And more than 400 hours of videos are uploaded to YouTube per minute.

You do the math.

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