Facebook, Other Tech Companies Attempt to “Fingeprint” Terrorist Content

Social media has been more or less a gift to the world in general, and a big part of the reason why it has had such a positive reception is because of the fact that it can be used to spread your message to quite a few people all around the world.

However, this has its negative consequences as well, with one of these negative consequences being that terrorists have been known to use social media platforms, with Facebook in particular falling to prey to this kind of usage, for the purposes of not just spreading their message but trying to recruit through these platforms as well. Things really start to get worrisome when you realize that Facebook has been quite an effective recruiting ground for new terrorists.

The heartening news here is that Facebook is taking this kind of usage of its platform very seriously indeed, and so the social media giant has formed a partnership with Google, Microsoft and Twitter called the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT).

One major benefit of this alliance is that it has allowed social media platforms to essentially “fingerprint” terrorist content. Content that is made by terrorists is uploaded to as many different platforms as possible, much like any other kind of content. This means that the source of the uploads can be ascertained as long as these platforms can collaborate with one another, and when this particular detail is discovered that particular source for this content can be prevented from adding more content to the various social media platforms that are out there right now.

Facebook explained in a newsroom post that:
"When terrorists misuse the internet, they often upload the same piece of content to multiple platforms to maximize their reach. To disrupt this behavior we jointly developed a shared industry database of “hashes” — or digital fingerprints — that allows us to safely share known terrorist images and video propaganda with partner companies. This enables us to more quickly identify and take action against potential terrorist content on our respective platforms.
The shared database predates the creation of GIFCT, but over the last couple years, we have significantly increased the volume of hashes within the database. In 2018, for example, we set and achieved our goal of reaching 100,000 unique hashes. And in the first six months of this year, we’ve already doubled that number, and we now have more than 200,000 unique hashes in the database.
As we take steps to deliver on the four collaborative actions set forth in the Christchurch Call to Action, we’re expanding the shared industry database so that it extends beyond photos and videos to include URLs that lead to known terrorist and violent extremist content online."

Photo: GettyImages

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