IT com­pa­nies should flag ter­ror­ist con­tent, hate speech to au­thor­i­ties MEP Mar­lene Mizzi

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

Dur­ing an ex­tra­or­di­nary ex­change of views with Google and Face­book on “So­cial me­dia, the in­ter­net and counter-ter­ror­ism”, S&D MEP Mar­lene Mizzi held a de­bate on the chal­lenges of en­sur­ing that the in­ter­net and so­cial me­dia are not used as a plat­form for ter­ror­ists’ pro­pa­ganda and on­line hate speech.

The ini­tia­tive was hosted by Dig­i­tal Europe Work­ing Group, of which Mar­lene Mizzi is a full mem­ber. It aimed at en­gag­ing the Euro­pean in­sti­tu­tions and IT com­pa­nies in a dis­cus­sion on how best to de­tect and dis­rupt ter­ror­ist-re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties on the in­ter­net and so­cial me­dia, and how to in­ten­sify the work of IT com­pa­nies to counter ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda.

MEP Mizzi said that the use of the in­ter­net and so­cial me­dia is nowa­days prob­a­bly the most pow­er­ful tool for ter­ror­ists or­gan­i­sa­tions to spread their pro­pa­ganda, pro­mote their ide­olo­gies, re­cruit peo­ple, col­lect funds and even co­or­di­nate at­tacks.

“Av­enues for rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion and the risks of do­mes­tic ter­ror­ism in Europe are grow­ing with the spread of global ter­ror­ist net­works us­ing on­line plat­forms and mes­sen­gers, such as Twit­ter or Face­book, for ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda and com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Their de­pen­dence on so­cial net­works sug­gests that with­out the in­ter­net and so­cial me­dia, ter­ror­ists or­gan­i­sa­tions would not be able to spread their mes­sage vi­rally,” said MEP Mizzi.

MEP Mizzi is con­vinced that so­cial me­dia and in­ter­net should be used to our ad­van­tage to im­ple­ment counter-ter­ror­ist tech­niques, that can help us main­tain pub­lic safety by pre­vent­ing ter­ror­ism, pro­tect­ing the pub­lic from it and pur­su­ing its per­pe­tra­tors.

One such strat­egy is the re­cently an­nounced Code of Con­duct on Il­le­gal On­line Hate Speech and In­ter­net Fo­rum through which pri­vate com­pa­nies have agreed to­gether with the Com­mis­sion to re­move con­tent from the in­ter­net, which they con­sider il­le­gal.

Mar­lene Mizzi said that whilst such ini­tia­tives seem like a good idea, the ques­tion re­mains how far pri­vate com­pa­nies can go against the back­drop of rad­i­cally chang­ing tech­nol­ogy and pub­lic at­ti­tudes to­wards sur­veil­lance, fun­da­men­tal rights and law en­force­ment.

In this re­gard, MEP Mizzi said that a strong reg­u­la­tory frame­work at Euro­pean level can help con­strain the use of in­ter­net by ji­hadi or­gan­i­sa­tions, strengthen de­rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion ef­forts, and limit their ac­cess to fund­ing.

“Fur­ther­more, once the on­line plat­forms and com­pa­nies spot an il­le­gal ter­ror­ist con­tent they must im­me­di­ately flag it to the re­spon­si­ble na­tional and Euro­pean au­thor­i­ties for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” com­mented Mar­lene Mizzi.

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