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Gaps Remain in Tech’s Counter-Extremism Approaches
Counter Extremism Project
by Felicia Woron
On Monday, April 23, 2018––a day before G7 security ministers pressed tech companies to do more to combat the spread of extremism online––Facebook and YouTube both released updates on their progress in removing extremist content from their platforms. This long overdue move follows the Counter Extremism Project's (CEP) longtime calls for increased transparency and metrics reporting in tech’s counter-extremism efforts. However, while progress reports are a step in the right direction, gaps continue to remain in Facebook and YouTube’s approaches to combating extremism.
Gaps in content removal: In its statement, Facebook claims to have removed 1.9 million pieces of ISIS and al-Qaeda content from its platform in the first quarter of 2018, using technology that specifically focuses on “ISIS, al-Qaeda, and their affiliates.” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also recently touted before the U.S. Congress that the company removes 99 percent of ISIS and al-Qaeda content from its platform. If that figure is accurate, and 99 percent of ISIS and al-Qaeda content uploaded to Facebook in the first quarter of 2018 equates to 1.9 million pieces, the remaining 1 percent would equate to approximately 19,000 pieces of ISIS and al-Qaeda content from that timeframe left on the platform.