The Islamic State terrorist group and its sympathizers around the world use Facebook as a tool to spread propaganda, land new recruits and antagonize their enemies. One woman, 37-year-old web designer Julie Guilbault, found that out when she launched a supportive hashtag after the Paris terrorist attacks that was besieged by abuse and ISIS-related spam. However, she has decided to fight back, creating a Change.org petition calling on Facebook to step up its fight against ISIS. At the time of this writing, the petition has over 111,000 signatures with a goal of 150,000.
“There are literally dozens of stories telling how, on Facebook, you just have to post a few keywords about Islam, Muslims, to have jihadist content appearing in your feed, or even to have someone talking directly to you, and trying to recruit you,” Guilbault told the Huffington Post. “It’s simply unbearable to think Facebook, the largest, most popular social network in the world, can set up algorithms to detect nudity, even on a painting, and put it offline in a matter of minutes or hours, and can’t do the same on jihadist propaganda or gore images.”
While there’s no doubt that terrorist-friendly content exists in large quantities on Facebook, it’s harder to get rid of than you might think. The site can’t rely on an algorithm alone, because that could end up censoring journalists and other legitimate discussions about ISIS. Instead they rely on a network of humans, which means that it’s basically impossible to root out every piece of offensive content. Still, if you want to sign the petition yourself, you can find it here.