For immediate release | Thursday, May 4, 2017

Are Tech Companies Doing Enough to Remove Extremist Content?

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CEP Analysis Shows Disparities in Policies and Enforcement Capacity as Firms Face Fines in U.K. for Failing to Remove Harmful Content

(New York, NY) – A new Counter Extremism Project (CEP) resource compares the terms of service of major Internet companies and social media platforms as British lawmakers released a report excoriating tech firms for failing to remove extremist and hate crime material.

ISIS and other extremist groups have weaponized social media and other Internet platforms to recruit, incite, and propagandize. Unfortunately, industry reaction to terrorists’ misuse of Internet and social media platforms has often been inconsistent, and piecemeal. CEP examined the terms of service of major social media companies to determine whether they had policies barring extremist and terrorist activity. Although many companies have adjusted their terms of service in recent years to prohibit content that promotes terror and violence, the continuing scourge of radicalization materials online clearly demonstrates that in most cases insufficient resources are being allocated to ensure enforcement of these policies.   

A report published on May 1 by the U.K. Home Affairs Committee concluded that tech firms are “shamefully far” from tackling illegal and dangerous content. The report said that social media companies are putting profit before safety and should be fined for failing to remove such content promptly.

“The biggest companies have been repeatedly urged by Governments, police forces, community leaders and the public, to clean up their act, and to respond quickly and proactively to identify and remove illegal content,” the report stated. “They have repeatedly failed to do so. That should not be accepted any longer.”

To explore CEP’s resource, Terms of Service: Company Policies on Online Extremism, please click here.