For immediate release | Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Tech Companies’ Hashing Technology a Step in the Right Direction, Raises Significant Questions

Press Contact:

Media at CEP

Ambassador Mark D. Wallace, CEO of the Counter Extremism Project (CEP), issued the following statement today in response to the announcement by technology companies of an image and video hashing effort targeting extremist content online:

“The Counter Extremism Project is pleased that social media companies, with support from the European Union, are adopting technology that will help remove extremist content from their platforms.

“The very solution at hand — video hashing targeted at smartly identifying exactly this content — is one that the Counter Extremism Project and Dr. Hany Farid, a professor of computer science at Dartmouth College and the world’s foremost hashing expert, brought to the attention of the social media companies and the EU over the course of multiple conversations dating back to last winter concerning algorithms designed by Dr. Farid related to robust video hashing. 

“Since then, with the support of a Microsoft grant, Dr. Farid has been working closely with Facebook and Microsoft engineers to further develop this common currency hashing solution.

“While today’s announcement is a welcome development, the challenge moving forward will be to ensure that the social media companies are transparent about the nature, extent and metrics of the content to be hashed and that the technology is swift and accurate. In order for this work to have a measurable impact, these companies must be held fully accountable when deploying the technology.

“In fighting online violence–inciting extremist content, we cannot operate in darkness.

“This is a positive first step to help combat online extremist propaganda that is pervasive and too easily accessible, and we look forward to working with the social media companies on a fully functioning and effective solution that swiftly identifies and removes content across all platforms. Companies must be transparent about the content to be hashed as well as metrics related to the accounts frozen and removed."

 

To learn more about CEP’s eGLYPH, click here.

To see EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove speak about eGLYPH, click here.