Today, many Internet giants have made the announcement that they will be collaborating in order to remove “terrorist content” from their websites. Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube said that they want to stop it from spreading. So, they are planning to create a shared industry database which will help find this kind of content. Mostly, they want to remove the gruesome and extreme images and videos which are often posted on social media.
Shared industry database
In an official announcement, Facebook has explained how this new industry database is going to work. They will hash content with digital fingerprints. This will make it easier for computer systems to identify and remove this content. Organizations keep pornography away in the same manner. Long story short, a piece of content (be it a video or a picture or essentially anything else) will have an identifier. Moreover, the copies of this hashed content will also present the same hash attributes. Companies also use this system to identify files which may be protected by copyright.
There is a problem however. By deleting this content, the companies might face censorship allegations. Still, if they choose not to delete these images or videos immediately, they might begin spreading all over the Internet and their efforts would be in vain. So, there is a reason for their actions.
Also, it is a known fact that the government can ask to know from what account something was posted or any other information. The companies have their own ways of dealing with those government requests which are unknown. Still, Facebook insists that this database will not share personal information even if, most probably, it will still collect it.
Available for other companies too
The main purpose of this movement is to try and make the database available for every other company which wants to stop terrorist content from spreading. Their official announcement also says that
“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.”
It is nice that in the light of recent events which involved fake-news reports spread all over social media which potentially influenced the outcome of the election, companies are working together. This joint effort can be considered the beginning of a collaboration between these Internet giants. Some are saying that it is not the company’s business to filter what is right from what is wrong. They are making the platform available. It is the people’s business what they choose to post. On the other side, others have blamed them for not doing anything to stop these fake news from spreading. Now it seems like they are beginning a project which will help deal with inappropriate content on their platforms.
All in all, we will have to wait and see what this effort will lead to and if it will be efficient and indeed available for every company. It is about protecting your users and they should be very aware of that.
Image source: here