Online Extremism: Social Media Platforms Response


Social media platforms have become an active vector for violent radicalization that is facilitating the rapid increase of violent and extremist ideologies. The propaganda materials produced by several groups on social media are intentionally crafted to cause, inspire, and encourage individuals to violence.

The propaganda materials produced by several groups on social media are intentionally crafted to cause, inspire, and encourage individuals to violence

The aggressive people have produced propaganda in the form of text, audio, and video that play a vital role in influencing individuals around the world to join extremist groups and to conduct deadly attacks across the globe. On several social media platforms, it has been noticed that they have even offered specific guidance on how to do so.

Online Extremism: Social Media Platforms Response

Social media is becoming a powerful platform for extremist groups, ranging from ISIS to white nationalist alt-right groups.

By using social networks, these groups are spreading hateful propaganda and incite violence and terror attacks.

Abdirizak Warsame, a young guy at the age of 19 was arrested for attempting to join ISIS abroad, he was inspired by watching violent ISIS execution videos on YouTube, and started to believe that he was doing something for “a greater cause” by joining the group.

 Recently, the largest tech companies of the world including Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter have signed an agreement to fight terrorism and violent extremism on their platforms, after the attack on a Christchurch mosque that was live-streamed on Facebook.

The footage was widely shared – sparking ranging condemnation of social media networks’ ability to control the content shared on their platforms.

The largest tech companies of the world including Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter have signed an agreement to fight terrorism and violent extremism on their platforms

These tech companies have confirmed that among other efforts, they would work with governments and NGOs in order to establish “crisis protocols” for responding to active events so information is shared and acted upon faster. These tech companies at the Paris Summit have confirmed that they would collaborate to help eliminate “extremist” material from the internet.

All the leaders from Canada, the European Union, Senegal, Indonesia, U.S., France and Jordan, as well as representatives from Facebook, Google and Twitter joined hands to ensure the removal of violent content, modifying their algorithms, and share data with governments.

A  month ago France and New Zealand’s leaders met in Paris and directed tech companies and governments in order to stop the acts of violent extremism appearing online.

The New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stated that their aim may not be simple, but it is clearly focused to end terrorist and violent extremist content online, this can succeed through collaboration. Meanwhile, Canada also announced several measures to combat online extremism.

Canada Government is teaming up with Twitter, Facebook, Microsoft and Google to host a youth summit in order to help young people learn about online terrorism and violent extremism, and sound out ideas on how to combat the issues. It is planning to provide up to $1 million CAD ($762,000) to a program called Tech against Terrorism.

Twitter is also removing the violent content from its platform actively. Previously it has removed the account of Richard Spencer, an American white nationalist who popularized the term “alternative right.”

Leaders from Canada, European Union, Senegal, Indonesia, U.S., France and Jordan, as well as representatives from Facebook, Google and Twitter joined hands to ensure the removal of violent content, modify their algorithms, and share data with governments

All the social media platforms have increasingly recognized online extremism to be a global issue after the Christchurch mosque incident and plan to combat hate speech. The Call to Action is providing political pressure and support for social platforms to prevent violence.

Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are hiring thousands of new moderators in order to filter out content they consider to be in violation of their standards and that is spreading hate in the general public. These are not media companies as they call themselves tech companies but they have the power to act as traditional media companies. Therefore, they should serve an editorial function in choosing what to publish and what not to publish.

Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are hiring thousands of new moderators in order to filter out content they consider to be in violation of their standards and that is spreading hate in the general public

The social media platforms should create a pleasant environment for users. They should strictly check the content uploaded by the users and should implement some precautionary measures that can check whether the free speeches are turning into hate speeches or they are positively motivating people. All the big social platforms should make comprehensive strategies to control hate speeches in order to stop the spreading of violence.

Only removing the toxic content from the Social Media platforms will not solve the issue, rather there is a need to take the threat posed by these violent ideologies much more serious

These Companies should censor, block, or terminate accounts for communications related to terrorism that violate their policies. However, only removing the toxic content and videos from their platforms will not solve the issue, rather there is a need to take the threat posed by these violent ideologies much more serious.

The authorities should ask internet service providers as well as domain name providers to remove extremist content. No doubt that it is extremely difficult for the social media firms to tackle these grey areas but they must try harder after the New Zealand tragedy.

A large majority of young people are using all these social platforms actively. By identifying and removing extremist users and their content from social media platforms, would significantly impact their ability to spread incite violence.

The extremist groups target and attract younger audiences via these interactive user-friendly platforms. Once the toxic content is controlled by social media platforms, it will automatically discourage the hate factor among young people.

The extremist groups target and attract younger audiences via these interactive user-friendly platforms

By removing the extremist groups from social platforms will make it difficult for them to approach the youth so easily. It will also bring peace and will reduce violent radicalization to a great extent.

It is a need of time to explore and research how both online and offline platforms can be harnessed to mobilize young people to develop narratives of peace, promote inclusion, equality, and intercultural dialogue.

To counter violent extremism and terrorism, there is a need for online professional and independent journalism. Just like Canada, Pakistan and other countries should also take initiatives and use technology to counter online extremism. The problem will not be solved until governments take charge and support media platforms to counter online threats.

 

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