For immediate release | Thursday, October 24, 2019

U.S. House Homeland Security Committee Introduces Legislation To Help Curb Online Extremism

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Proposed Legislation Holds Tech Companies Accountable For Extremist Content Online

(New York, N.Y.) - This week, the U.S. House Homeland Security committee unanimously advanced the National Commission on Online Platforms and Homeland Security Act (H.R. 4782). The legislation, introduced by Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson, would establish a 12-member, bipartisan national commission on online platforms that examines how tech companies are being exploited by extremists to propagate acts of violence and terror. The commission would be granted subpoena power and be tasked with publishing a report on recommendations to curb online extremism.

“The proposed Commission is a crucial bi-partisan effort to hold tech companies accountable for their actions (or inaction),” stated Counter Extremism Project Executive Director David Ibsen. “Its work will help assure that tech companies have clear policies and procedures to moderate content and enforce them consistently and transparently. The Commission’s ability to conduct hearings, subpoena an owner or operator of an online platform, receive evidence, and issue reports are key measures that improve transparency within the tech industry, whose opaque practices have left lawmakers frustrated and American citizens insecure.”

CEP filed a letter in support of the legislation, expressing a deep concern about “terrorists’ misuse of online platforms as well as tech companies’ inability to consistently and transparently remove terrorist material from their websites.” Recent terror attacks have renewed a spotlight on how extremist content proliferates online and radicalizes others. Specifically, in the aftermath of the Christchurch attack, CEP identified videos of the shooter’s livestream a month after it happened. Others, such as the murderous neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division also continue proliferating on YouTube.

To read CEP’s letter in support of the National Commission on Online Platforms and Homeland Security Act (H.R. 4782), please click here.