In a statement posted to Facebook this week, the social media giant announced that it has teamed up with Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube to help “curb the spread of terrorist content” across their platforms.
The group plans to create a shared database of terrorist content flagged with so-called “hashes,” or “unique digital footprints.” That way if a terrorist video that Facebook flagged and removed pops up on Twitter, Twitter will immediately know to remove it. A similar technology is already used effectively to remove child pornography from social media, so the decision to use it to fight terrorism makes sense.
Likely anticipating a backlash against potential privacy issues that the tool could pose, the joint statement made sure to stress that Facebook and the other companies are only interested in removing terrorist content while still protecting user privacy.
“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,” the companies’ statement read. “Throughout this collaboration, we are committed to protecting our users’ privacy and their ability to express themselves freely and safely on our platforms.”
However, the companies probably don’t need to worry about offending anyone with the tool; even consumer watchdog groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation approve, making it a win for everyone.