With an aim to limit online terrorist content, technology giants Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube said together they would build a shared database that will also help them to weed out content used to recruit people into terrorism.
According to a report on Tech Crunch, the companies said they will create a shared industry database that will be used to identify this content, including what they describe as the “most extreme and egregious terrorist images and videos” that have been removed from their respective services.
The content will be hashed using unique digital fingerprints, which is how its identification and removal can be handled more easily and efficiently by the company’s computer systems and algorithms.
“We commit to the creation of a shared industry database of hashes – unique digital ‘fingerprints’ – for violent terrorist imagery or terrorist recruitment videos or images that we have removed from our services,” read a joint statement.
Participating companies can add hashes of terrorist images or videos that are identified on one of our platforms to the database.
Other participating companies can then use those hashes to identify such content on their services, review against their respective policies and definitions and remove matching content as appropriate.
Furthermore, each company will have the freedom to independently determine what image and video hashes to contribute to the shared database.
No personally identifiable information will be shared and matching content will not be automatically removed.
“Each company will continue to apply its own policies and definitions of terrorist content when deciding whether to remove content when a match to a shared hash is found. And each company will continue to apply its practice of transparency and review for any government requests, as well as retain its own appeal process for removal decisions and grievances,” the statement added.
The companies said they seek to engage with the wider community of interested stakeholders in a transparent, thoughtful and responsible way.
“We hope this collaboration will lead to greater efficiency as we continue to enforce our policies to help curb the pressing global issue of terrorist content online,” the companies added.