Facebook Launches Plan To Combat Online Extremism

Just last week, Facebook announced that it would use artificial intelligence (AI) in a bid to help it better tackle terrorist content, a move that came just days after UK PM Theresa May said that social media firms should be fined for failing to remove extremist content.

A United Kingdom think tank called the Institute for Strategic Dialogue said it would support the Facebook initiative.

Facebook's Online Civil Courage Initiative (OCCI) will train non-governmental organisations to help them identify extremist content, and provide a dedicated support desk for those wishing to contact Facebook directly.

Referring to the recent London and Manchester attack Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg said that such attacks are heartbreaking, and now they need to do more through their platform to keep violence and negativity away from Facebook.

Recently, Monika Bickert, director of Global Policy Management, and Brian Fishman, Counter-terrorism Policy Manager at Facebook, stated that the company firmly believes that no radical and extremist content should be shared on social media.

The OCCI is a counterspeech programme, which means it encourages people to speak out against violence and extremism. "We know we have more to do - but through our platform, our partners and our community we will continue to learn to keep violence and extremism off Facebook".

Together they will support NGOs included the Jo Cox Foundation, set up in memory of the Labour MP murdered past year, Tell Mama, an organization tracking anti-Muslim attacks, Imams Online, and the Community Security Trust, which protects the Jewish community in the UK. Now it is important by all social media networks to control extremism and hate speech spreading through their platform.

They have held training workshops with more than 100 anti-hate and anti-extremism organisations across Europe, and reached 3.5 million people online through its Facebook page.

While today sees the United Kingdom launch of OCCI, the same initiative is already up and running in France and Germany, and Facebook will be able to draw on what it has learned so far to help with its latest expansion.

He added that theywelcomed Facebook's initiativeto help tackle terrorist and extremist material.

The home office welcomed the initiative.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said the Government was "not frightened" to issue sanctions to firms who failed to remove extreme material. "Together, we can build a proportional and effective response to the increasingly sophisticated online strategies of the extremists".

  • Carolyn Briggs