On August 5, 2019, a policeman in Kandahar opened fire on his colleagues, killing seven officers before he fled the scene. Taliban spokesperson Qari Yusouf Ahmadi claimed the attacker was a member of the Taliban
During the first quarter of 2019, Big Tech spent approximately $8 million lobbying Congress and federal agencies on potential regulations regarding cybersecurity; moderating terrorist, violent, extremist and “controversial” content online; and platform integrity, among other things. During the first quarter of 2019, Google spent nearly $3.53 million, Facebook spent $3.4 million and Twitter spent $420,000. In that same period, the Christchurch, New Zealand shooter was able to share his manifesto online and broadcast his attacks on Facebook Live.
“We are repeating our call for tech companies to cease all lobbying against potential government regulation that is clearly needed to protect citizens from online terrorists and extremist threats,” said CEP Executive Director David Ibsen. “Tech’s ongoing lobbying efforts prove, once again, that its public statements in favor of government oversight is simply a ploy to generate public goodwill and thwart punitive regulatory measures. Once again, tech’s promises to be responsible stewards of the Internet ring hollow as they continue doing business as usual. The media, lawmakers, and the public must demand transparency from tech and compare what they’re doing in practice to their public posturing.”
Between January and March 2019, Google SVP of Global Affairs Kent Walker wrote a blog supporting “government-overseen systems of accountability,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote an op-ed advocating “a more active role for governments and regulators” and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said in an interview, “[g]enerally, I think regulation is a good thing.” Their lobbying disclosures, however, suggest the companies were pushing a different agenda to lawmakers and regulators.
While tech was lobbying on regulation, terrorists were using their platforms unabated. Facebook and YouTube's much-publicized artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities were powerless during and after the New Zealand Christchurch shootings on March 15, 2019. The terrorist was able to livestream the shooting without Facebook taking any action until law enforcement informed them of the livestream, and identifiable copies of the video and audio were found on Facebook and YouTube more than a month following the attack.
During the first quarter of 2019, prior to the New Zealand shootings, CEP spotlighted several notorious propagandists and pieces of content that the industry failed to keep off its platforms:
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