For immediate release | Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Counter Extremism Project CEO Mark Wallace Calls on Social Media Companies to Increase Efforts to Combat Online Extremism in Congressional Hearing

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Media at CEP

(Washington, DC) - Mark Wallace, Chief Executive Officer of the Counter Extremism Project and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, today called on social media companies to take a more active role in preventing extremists from using their platforms to radicalize, recruit new members and incite violence Wallace testified at a hearing of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs' Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade this afternoon.

The hearing, "The Evolution of Terrorist Propaganda: The Paris Attack and Social Media" addressed cyberterrorism and online recruitment by extremist organizations through social media. In his testimony, Wallace highlighted the need for more aggressive steps for identifying and removing extremists from social media, outlining a number of mechanisms by which social media companies can be proactive in this global effort. He reiterated CEP's calls for Twitter, in particular, to significantly strengthen its policies along the lines of new guidelines to prevent bullying and harassment of women. Over the last several months, CEP has repeatedly and directly engaged Twitter on this very issue, with no action by the social media behemoth to date.

"Even with our sacred protections of speech, our legal system does not protect certain forms of speech that crosses lines of public safety, and national security," Wallace said in his testimony. "Regrettably, as extremists have hijacked and weaponized social media platforms, we are at a moment of collision between the good and thoughtful people who seek an unfettered and uninhibited right to speech through social media and similarly good and thoughtful people who seek to protect us from those who use social media platforms as an essential tool of terror."

Wallace was joined J.M. Berger, author of ISIS: The State of Terror and Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, Evan Kohlmann, Chief Information Officer at Flashpoint Partners and Rebecca MacKinnon, Director of Ranking Digital Rights at New America, for the afternoon hearing, which brought together actors across the counter extremism space to address the growing threats from cyber terrorism and cyber radicalization.

A copy of Ambassador Wallace's full testimony can be found here.

Media inquiries: Members of the press who wish to speak with Ambassador Wallace, please contact: [email protected]

For more information on today's hearing: http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/hearing/subcommittee-hearing-evolution-terrorist-propaganda-paris-attack-and-social-media

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