Eye on Extremism: January 10

EU Observer: Commission: 120 Minutes To Remove Illegal Online Content

“The European Commission is demanding social media platforms share illegal content with police amid broader threats of imposing EU-wide legislation to enforce the takedown of such material. In a closed-door meeting in Brussels on Tuesday (9 January) between several EU commissioners and some 20 firms, the commission also demanded swifter removals. EU home affairs commissioner Dimitris Avramopolous said removals should not take more than two hours. "Information on removed content should be shared with law enforcement so it can be used as evidence in investigations," he said, along side commissioners Andrus Ansip, Elzbieta Bienkowska, Vera Jourova, Julian King and Mariya Gabriel. Their demand is part of a broader effort by the EU to coerce the firms to take swifter action against online content deemed to incite hatred, violence and terrorism.”

The International Business Times: ISIS Executioner Who Threw Gay Men Off Buildings Bribed His Way Out Of Prison In 'Minutes'

“A notorious Isis henchman accused of beheading gay men and throwing them off rooftops has escaped from police custody just minutes after being arrested in Iraq. Abu Omer – known as "White Beard" thanks to his impressive facial hair – was arrested in Mosul at the beginning of the year. Local and international media reported his detention but now it seems that the sadistic jihadi was back on the road in no time at all. Human rights watch group the Clarion Project described the escape as a "remarkable failure of the Iraqi justice system – [an] Isis religious leader was arrested and released just minutes later after paying a $7,500 [£5,500] bribe." The grisly executioner has been connected to dozens of killings inside the so-called Caliphate. Most shockingly, he appears to feature in an infamous video from 2015 that shows three men accused of homosexuality being publicly beheaded.”

Bloomberg: UANI Chairman Sen. Joseph Lieberman urges President Trump to use his authority under existing law to sanction Iran for its missile development program and human rights abuses, especially in the wake of its ongoing crackdown on protesters.

Business Insider: Syria Says It Was Hit By Israeli Jets And Missiles, As Israel Vows To Keep Iranian Arms From Hezbollah

“Israeli jets and ground-to-ground missiles struck Syria early on Tuesday, Syria's army said, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated he would do what was needed to stop Hezbollah gaining "game-changing" Iranian weapons. The Syrian army said in a statement carried by state television that Israeli jets fired missiles at the al-Qutaifa area near Damascus from inside Lebanese airspace at 2:40 a.m. (0040 GMT) and Syrian air defenses hit one of the planes. Israel then fired rockets from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, but the Syrian defenses brought them down, the army said, adding that Israeli jets fired a final barrage of four rockets from inside Israel, one of which was intercepted by Syrian air defenses while the others caused material damage. Israel has pledged to prevent Syrian territory being used for Iran to set up bases or transfer high-quality weaponry to Lebanon's Hezbollah group, which has been helping Damascus beat back a six-year-old rebellion.”

BBC News: Paris Kosher Store Destroyed By Fire On Attack Anniversary

“Officials in France are investigating a suspected arson attack on a kosher grocery store in a suburb of the capital, Paris. The incident took place on the third anniversary of a deadly attack by an Islamist gunman on a kosher supermarket in Paris. The burned grocery store was recently defaced with Nazi swastikas. It comes amid fears among France's Jewish community about high levels of anti-Semitism. The Promo & Destock store in the southern suburb of Créteil was completely destroyed by the fire in the early hours of Tuesday. ‘The damage is believed to be very severe,’ prosecutor Laure Beccuau told AFP news agency, adding that investigators did not believe the fire was an accident.”

United States

Guardian: US Investigating 'Viral' Attack As Possible Source Of Diplomats' Illness In Cuba

“US investigators are looking at a range of theories – including the possibility of a ‘viral’ attack – to explain what may have sickened some American diplomats stationed in Havana, according to the state department. US experts have yet to determine who or what was behind the mysterious illnesses that began occurring in late 2016 and heightened tensions between the old cold war foes. They have seen no evidence it was ‘an episode of mass hysteria’ among the 24 affected US personnel and family members, a senior state department medical officer told a Senate hearing on Tuesday. State department officials testified that it was ‘incomprehensible’ Cuba’s communist government would not have been aware of what happened or who was responsible, though they stopped short of assigning direct blame to Havana.”

ABC 23 Bakersfield: Poverty Is One Factor In Radicalization, Not The Only Factor

“Radicalization resulting in disturbing rhetoric or even terrorism is no simple subject. Oftentimes, policymakers will say it all boils down to economics: These are poverty-stricken people, desperately in need of a leg-up, who only turn to extremism as a last resort. Former Secretary of State John Kerry in 2014 talked about ‘this issue of poverty, which in many cases is the root cause of terrorism....’ Fact is, that’s just not true. Recent history proves him wrong time and again. Simply handing out money and giving people jobs wouldn’t be a panacea for extremism. It might help in some cases but not all, as President Barack Obama acknowledged in 2015: ‘Poverty alone does not cause a person to become a terrorist any more than poverty alone causes someone to become a criminal.’”

The Hill: Pentagon Identifies Soldier In Anti-ISIS Coalition Who Died

“Representatives from major technology firms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube will testify on Capitol Hill this month. The Senate Commerce Committee announced on Tuesday that it will hold a hearing exploring extremist content on social media platforms on Jan. 17. The committee said the hearing, titled “Terrorism and Social Media: #IsBigTechDoingEnough?,” will look at “the steps social media platforms are taking to combat the spread of extremist propaganda over the Internet.” Facebook’s Head of Global Policy Management Monika Bickert, YouTube’s Global Head of Public Policy and Government Relations Juniper Downs and Twitter’s Head of Public Policy and Philanthropy Carlos Monje will testify at the hearing.”

ABC News: As Iran Deal Deadline Approaches, Trump Mulls Next Move

“In the coming days, President Donald Trump is up against another consequential deadline on the Iran nuclear deal, just months after vowing to tear it up if Congress didn't move to fix it. By Friday, the president must either once again sign waivers on Iranian sanctions -- and keep the nuclear accord alive -- or refuse to sign, effectively terminating U.S. participation in the agreement and setting off an international crisis. Despite the past recommendations of his national security team, it's something he has threatened to do repeatedly. The waivers are on the nuclear sanctions the U.S. agreed to lift as part of the 2015 agreement between the U.S., Iran, the European Union, China, Russia, Germany, the U.K., and France. As part of America's commitment under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, they must be re-signed periodically for varying lengths of time; some come up every 90 days, others 120 or 180.”

The New York Times: Administration Delays Prosecuting Qaeda Suspect Once Seen As Candidate For Guantánamo

“The Trump administration has delayed a decision over whether to prosecute a suspected Qaeda operative, a case that represented an early test of President Trump’s promise to resume sending prisoners to the Guantánamo Bay military prison, former and current American officials said. The delay is the latest example of how, in Mr. Trump’s first year in office, his campaign pledges to fill Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, with “bad dudes” and bring back banned techniques like waterboarding have met the complicated realities of fighting terrorism. The prisoner, a Sudanese citizen known as Abu Khaybar, has been held in Yemen for more than a year by the United Arab Emirates, which is conducting counterterrorism operations in the war-torn country. A decade ago, Mr. Khaybar might have been a strong candidate for detention at the military prison in Cuba. But no prisoner has been sent there since 2008, and the site has become a symbol of American abuses after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Sending a suspect to Guantánamo Bay now could risk relations with some of Washington’s closest counterterrorism allies.”

Syria

The Washington Post: Who Is Attacking Russia’s Bases In Syria? A New Mystery Emerges In The War

“A series of mysterious attacks against the main Russian military base in Syria, including one conducted by a swarm of armed miniature drones, has exposed Russia’s continued vulnerability in the country despite recent claims of victory by President Vladimir Putin. The attacks have also spurred a flurry of questions over who may be responsible for what amounts to the biggest military challenge yet to Russia’s role in Syria, just when Moscow is seeking to wind its presence down. In the most recent and unusual of the attacks, more than a dozen armed drones descended from an unknown location onto Russia’s vast Hmeimim air base in northwestern Latakia province, the headquarters of Russia’s military operations in Syria, and on the nearby Russian naval base at Tartus. Russia said that it shot down seven of the 13 drones and used electronic countermeasures to safely bring down the other six. It said no serious damage was caused.”

Modern Diplomacy: Wanted Dead Or Alive: The Frustrating, Failing Hunt For ISIS Leader Baghdadi

“Last month Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi declared the territorial defeat of ISIS in Iraq. Yet a pressing question remains—where is Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the head of the terrorist group that took over a third of Iraq’s territory in 2014 to establish the so-called caliphate, which terrorized millions in the region, horrified people all over the world, and inspired gruesome attacks in Europe and the United States? Despite a $25 million U.S. State Department bounty on his head, al Baghdadi has managed to evade capture and death repeatedly. This, even with the fury of the U.S., Russian, Syrian, and Iraqi militaries focused on killing him. While we were in Baghdad as researchers from the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE) last month interviewing cadres from the so-called Islamic State who, unlike their leader, were caught and brought to justice, an Iraqi prison interrogator asked, ‘With all of your country’s military might why is it that the U.S. can’t find al Baghdadi?’”

Turkey

Reuters: Turkey Urges Russia, Iran To Stop Syrian Army Offensive In Idlib

“Turkey called on Russia and Iran on Wednesday to pressure Syrian authorities to halt a military offensive in Syria’s rebel-held Idlib province, which Damascus launched despite an international deal to reduce hostilities there. As pro-government forces pressed the assault, the Russian defense ministry’s newspaper said Moscow had asked the Turkish military to tighten control over armed groups in Idlib. It said militants had used the province as the launchpad for a drone attack on two Russian bases in the last week. Idlib has become a focal point of the Syrian war as government forces and allied militia have thrust toward an insurgent-held air base. Idlib, bordering Turkey, is the largest single chunk of Syria still under the control of rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad.”

Afghanistan

Newsweek: U.S. Marines Are Training Afghans To Kill ISIS And The Taliban With Drones

“U.S. Marines in Afghanistan are training Afghans for the first time to direct airstrikes and use drones to attack ISIS and the Taliban, according to reports from the Marine Corps. During a recent operation, Afghan troops used drones known as ScanEagle to identify targets that were later destroyed by Afghan attack controllers. A marines spokeswoman told the Marine Corps Times that it was the first time Afghans were calling in spontaneous airstrikes on moving targets. Officials said the Afghan government has been relying more heavily on its own coordinators and less on coalition forces to direct attack planes. The operation comes in the wake of President Donald Trump’s decision to send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan. The Pentagon announced in November that there are now around 14,000 U.S. troops in the country, almost double the amount as when Trump took office.”

Xinhua: Afghan Army Destroys Taliban Landmine Cache In Mountainous Province

“Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers have found and destroyed a Taliban landmine cache in eastern province of Kapisa, an army source said on Wednesday. ‘The ANA soldiers together with police and intelligence agency personnel launched a joint operation in Kapisa on Tuesday. The joint forces found a cache in village Wali Dad Khil, Tagab district in the province,’ army's Corps 201 Selab based in the region said. An army engineering team destroyed the cache, consisting of 37 rounds of different type of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and landmines, before the operation ended in the province, 65 km north of Kabul, the statement read. Taliban militants and Islamic State fighters have been using IEDs to make roadside bombs and landmines for targeting security forces, but the lethal home-made weapons also inflict casualties on civilians.”

Pakistan

CBS News: Pakistan Frees Cleric With Terror Ties Amid Spat With Trump

“A Pakistani court has ordered the release of a radical anti-U.S. cleric who went to Afghanistan with thousands of volunteers to help the Taliban fight against Americans after the 2001 U.S.-led invasion, a defense lawyer said Tuesday. The development comes amid rising U.S.-Pakistani tensions following President Donald Trump's accusations that Pakistan was harboring militants and the withholding of American aid to Islamabad. Sufi Mohammad was set free on health grounds and the paperwork for his release was still being processed Tuesday, said defense lawyer Fida Gul.”

Saudi Arabia

Egypt Today: Saudi Writer Accuses MB, Qatar Of Destabilizing Egypt

“Saudi writer and journalist Abdulrahman al-Rashed wrote an article in Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper Tuesday, in which he accused the Muslim Brotherhood and Doha’s regime of destabilizing the Egyptian community intentionally through spreading rumors and lies.  The former general manager of Al-Arabiya television channel and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper stated in his article titled “The story of an intelligence officer’s recordings” that the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group has been cooperating with their Qatari allies for more than two years to destabilize the Egyptian community intentionally, using the Palestinian cause as an excuse; however, in reality, “they don’t really care.”

Egypt

Voice Of America: Egypt Says Its Forces Kill 8 Suspected Militants In Sinai

“Egypt says security forces have killed eight suspected militants in a shootout in the northern Sinai Peninsula. The Interior Ministry said Tuesday the firefight broke out when the forces raided a suspected hideout in el-Arish city. It said the militants were planning attacks targeting security forces, and were in possession of explosives, rifles and ammunition. Egypt has been battling militants in the northern part of Sinai Peninsula for years, but the insurgency became far more deadly after the 2013 military ouster of Mohamed Morsi, the country's first freely elected civilian president. An affiliate of so-called Islamic State based in the Sinai has carried out a number of high-profile attacks in recent years, mainly targeting security forces and Egypt's Christian minority. Journalists are not allowed in Sinai.”

Nigeria

Daily Post: Boko Haram: Army Kills 107 Terrorists, Loses 4 Soldiers

“Troops of the Operation Lafiya Dole in the ongoing Operation Deep Punch 2 have neutralized over 50 Boko Haram terrorists. They also destroyed and captured high calibre arms and ammunition, especially in the Lake Chad general area. This is contained in a statement by Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka Usman, Director Army Public Relations. On Monday, troops also cleared members of the sect in Metele village, Tumbun Gini and Tumbun Ndjamena. During the clearance operations, Boko Haram terrorists abandoned the area in disarray, leaving behind livestock, large quantity of foodstuff, motorcycles and donkeys. The statement added that in Metele, however, the terrorists attempted to attack troops in harbour.”

Daily Post: Boko Haram: Army Hands Over Rescued Chibok Girl To Borno Govt.

“The Nigerian Army has formally handed over the rescued Chibok school girl, Salomi Pogu, to the Borno Government. The Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole,Maj.-Gen.Rogers Nicholas, presented two rescued girls, including Pogu, to the Deputy Governor, Alhaji Usman Durkwa, in Maiduguri. Troops of Operation Lafiya Dole deployed in Pulka had rescued one of the Chibok girls abducted by Boko Haram terrorists earlier in 2014. He called for proper registration of the girls before handing them over to their parents and guardians. Receiving the girls, Durkwa lauded the military for their commitment to the rescue of the abducted girls. ‘We waited for long for the rescue of the girls; it is a welcome development that the theatre commander was able to rescue the girl within one week.’”

Premium Times: Soldiers Kill Two Female Suicide Bombers, Arrest Another

“Soldiers in Gamboru-Ngala village of Borno State on Tuesday morning averted a major disaster when they intercepted and killed two suspected female suicide bombers. The suspects were trying to invade the community with explosives strapped on their bodies, the army said. A third teenage girl who probably opted out of the deadly mission was later arrested after she had un-strapped and dumped her explosive belt. The arrested teenager said she and the two killed set out on a journey at 3.30 a.m. shortly after their Boko Haram leaders had primed them to carry out attacks in Gamboru village, the army said. The spokesperson of Operation Lafiya Dole military command and control centre, Maiduguri, Onyema Nwachukwu, said the explosives could have caused many deaths had the troops not intercepted the girls.”

North Korea

Business Insider: The US Is Reportedly Considering A 'Bloody Nose' Attack To Humiliate North Korea — Here's How It Could Go Down

“As North Korea's nuclear and missile programs make leaps and bounds in advancement, the most powerful military on earth has sat just a few dozen miles away with little they could do about it — but that may be about to change. Multiple reports out of the White House indicate an internal debate over a hot topic: Whether or not to strike North Korea. Both The Telegraph and the Wall Street Journal have reported that President Donald Trump's administration is weighing a ‘bloody nose’ strike to batter and humiliate North Korea as it illegally advances its weapons programs. The strategy calls for a limited strike on North Korea in response to some provocation, like a missile or nuclear test. The news that the Trump administration is seriously considering a strike has rattled international observers and experts on North Korea, as any attack on North Korea runs the enormous risk of starting an all out war. If the US strikes North Korea, it then places its trust in the country's leader Kim Jong Un not to retaliate massively against South Korea or Japan. As North Korea demonstrates an ever-increasing nuclear capability, the prospect only becomes more dangerous.”

Philippines

Channel NewsAsia: Clashes With Pro-Islamic State Militants In Southern Philippines Kill 25

“Clashes between the pro-Islamic State (IS) Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom fighters (BIFF) and security forces in the southern Philippines since Christmas Eve has killed 25 and trapped 5,000 indigenous people in their villages, according to the Philippines military and a tribal leader. Military air strikes were launched during the clashes, which were still on-going as of Tuesday (Jan 9), in the municipalities of Datu Hoffer, Datu Unsay and Datu Saudi in the Maguindanao province. The trapped Teduray tribe in Maguindanao province are facing difficulties accessing food and water as the BIFF militants have heavily booby-trapped their land, according to one tribal leader. ‘The military has killed at least 20 BIFF militants in clashes that erupted on Dec 24. The clashes are still on-going,’ Major-General Arnel V dela Vega told Channel NewsAsia from Cotabato City, southern Philippines.”

Australia

ABC Australia: Brisbane Nightclubs Asked To Introduce New Counter-Terror Measure, But Expert Not Convinced

“Police have called on licensed venues in the Brisbane nightclub district to introduce a new counter-terrorism measure, but an expert says it is unlikely to be effective. The Safe Night Precinct, in conjunction with the Queensland Police Service, wrote to bars and nightclubs in Fortitude Valley asking owners to prepare a ‘grab bag’ to be readily available in the event of a terror-related incident. The email included a list of items to be stored inside the bag but said it was only a ‘draft.’ It listed several items, including a USB device with floor and CCTV plans, staff contact lists, security codes and a megaphone. Other items include an incident log book, glow sticks and a disposable camera.”

United Kingdom

BBC News: Top Terror Suspect Urged Jihad In Glasgow In 1995

“One of the world's most-wanted terror suspects visited Scotland to urge Muslims to become jihadis years before 9/11, a BBC investigation says. The Radio Four documentary, The Dawn of British Jihad, discovered that Hafiz Saeed toured British mosques in 1995. In August that year, in Glasgow, Saeed said that when Muslims had the spirit of jihad they had ruled the whole world but today they were being humiliated. Saeed is wanted for allegedly organising the Mumbai attacks in 2008. He has always denied involvement in the attacks, which killed 166 people. The BBC documentary, to be broadcast on Tuesday night, sets out to examine the idea that radicalisation of British Muslims started well before the 9/11 bombings. Sajid Iqbal, one of the programme's producers, told BBC Scotland he spoke to people who were active in the 1980s and 1990s, ‘much earlier than commonly thought.’ ‘These were different times. At that time, the theatres of Jihad were Bosnia and Afghanistan, where there was some sort of common cause,’ he said.”

The Times: Daughter Of ISIS Victim Flees Court As Stalker Has Jail Term Revoked

“The daughter of the murdered Islamic State hostage David Haines has expressed her anger after the stalker who taunted her about her father’s death had his prison term overturned on appeal. Bethany Haines fled the appeal court in distress yesterday when judges quashed the 21-month sentence imposed on Andrew Murray, 22. Murray, who appeared via video link, was freed after the appeal court judges ruled that the sentence imposed at Perth sheriff court had been too severe. He was ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work in the community instead.”

France

FrontPage Magazine: Has France Learned Anything From The Charlie-Hebdo – Hypercasher Terror Attacks?

“On the third anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo-HyperCasher terrorist attacks in Paris, which claimed 17 lives, France appears to have learned nothing from these outrages. On the contrary, it seems as though the French have doubled down on the very policies which spawned the attacks. France’s craven foreign policies, motivated in part by greed, appear to be catered toward appeasing Islamic tyrants. The government continues to fund Islamist or anti-Semitic NGOs – like the Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS) – whose radical agenda is guided solely by xenophobia and Islamist supremacism. Its liberal immigration laws and politically correct approach to tackling Islamic extremism have all but transformed France into a bastion of anti-Israel and anti-Western hate. Last week, France had an opportunity to demonstrate to the world that the nation still had some spine by publicly siding with democracy protesters in Iran. Instead, France found itself in the company of democracy stalwarts like Russia, China and Turkey in siding with the repressive theocratic dictatorship.”

Germany

Radio Free Europe:Germany Summons Iran Envoy To Warn Against Spying On Israel

“Germany has summoned Iran's ambassador in Berlin to warn Tehran against spying on individuals and groups with close ties to Israel, saying such acts violate German law. News of the meeting came out in media reports on January 9 after a Pakistani man's appeal of his conviction in March of spying for Iran was rejected by the German Constitutional Court. Mustufa Haidar Syed-Naqfi was convicted of gathering intelligence on Reinhold Robbe, the former head of the German-Israel Friendship Society and an Israeli-French economics professor in Paris, for Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. After the conviction, Robbe accused Tehran of plotting to have him murdered and demanded that Berlin call Iran to account, according to German media. "Spying on people and institutions with special ties to the state of Israel on German soil is an egregious violation of German law," a ministry official said on January 9, noting that Iranian Ambassador Ali Majedi was summoned and given a warning on December 22.”

The Washington Post: Germany Indicts Syrian On Charges Of Promoting Islamic State

“A 37-year-old Syrian mathematician has been formally charged in Germany on allegations of promoting the Islamic State group, obtaining bomb-making instructions and other crimes, prosecutors said Tuesday. The man, who wasn’t identified, is alleged to have posted videos on social media between July and December 2016 in which he urged support for IS and attempted to solicit new recruits for the group. German prosecutors said they considered another post, in which the suspect praised the killing of Jordanian author Nahed Hattar , a prominent critic of IS, to constitute incitement. Frankfurt prosecutors, who are handling the case, said police also found manuals for making rifle silencers, explosives and detonators at the man’s home and office at the Technical University of Darmstadt. The man, who came to Germany in 2005 on a Syrian government scholarship, has been in detention since February 2017.”

Deutsche Welle: Children Of 'Islamic State' Struggle To Integrate In Germany

“With the ‘Islamic State’ on the verge of total defeat in Syria and Iraq, authorities in Germany are debating how to deal with returnees from the terrorist militia. Many of them are children who know nothing but war. Many women who left Germany to join the so-called Islamic State (IS) married fighters from the terrorist militia and had children. Some were pregnant when they traveled to Iraq or Syria or brought older children along with them. Now the German public has urged that those who return have their children taken away. But it's not that simple, according to Nora Fritzsche, who specializes in preventing radicalization at the Working Group for the Protection of Children and Youths (AJS) in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia. ‘There must be a concrete threat to the child,’ she said, adding that it's not enough to say the parents are Islamists. ‘We look at the best interests of the child, not at the parents' beliefs.’ Youth aid is in a bind, said Fritzsche. Youth workers often see children grow up in poor conditions, but "state institutions don't have the right to guarantee the best sponsorship of every child, nor even simply a good upbringing." Before youth welfare services remove a child from a family, they explore other options like family counseling and assistance — and only if the families agree.”

Europe

Jerusalem Post: Netanyahu: Israel Thwarted 'Major' Terror Attacks In Europe Involving Planes

“Israeli intelligence has thwarted mass terrorist attacks in Europe that ‘involve civil aviation,’ Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday, in a possible reference to 9/11-type attacks planned against European targets using hijacked aircraft. Speaking in Jerusalem to ambassadors of NATO countries, Netanyahu said that the world is threatened by radical Sunni groups – initially led by al-Qaida, now by Islamic State – and radical Shi’ites led by Iran.”

Tech Crunch: Europe Keeps Up The Pressure On Social Media Over Illegal Content Takedowns

“The European Union’s executive body is continuing to pressure social media firms to get better at removing illegal content from their platforms before it has a chance to spread further online. Currently there is a voluntary Code of Conduct on countering illegal online hate speech across the European Union. But the Commission has previously indicated it could seek to legislate if it feels companies aren’t doing enough. After attending a meeting on the topic today, Andrus Ansip, the European Commissioner for Digital Single Market, tweeted to say the main areas tech firms need to be addressing are that “takedown should be fast, reliable, effective; pro-activity to detect, remove and disable content using automatic detection and filtering; adequate safeguards and counter notice.”

Technology

Recode: Congress Is Going To Grill Alphabet, Facebook And Twitter Again — This Time For Terrorist Content On Their Sites

“Alphabet, Facebook and Twitter have been summoned to appear before U.S. lawmakers once again, this time to answer for the extremist, terrorist content that appears on their sites. The fresh round of scrutiny comes from the powerful Senate Commerce Committee, which oversees tech and telecom giants. The panel has scheduled a new Jan. 17 hearing to ‘examine the steps social media platforms are taking to combat the spread of extremist propaganda over the Internet,’ its leader, Republican Sen. John Thune, announced Tuesday. To many in Congress, tech giants in Silicon Valley have failed to fully thwart extremist groups like the Islamic State, which at times have spread terrorist propaganda and sought to recruit new followers using major international social media channels. But this Senate hearing also threatens to expose Alphabet, Facebook and Twitter in particular to fresh questions about their handling of other hateful, conspiratorial or abusive content on their platforms — from racism and fake news to the rise of the alt-right.”

The Washington Post: A Week Later, YouTube Condemns A Logan Paul Vlog Of A Suicide Victim’s Body, Says It’s Looking At ‘Further Consequences’

“A week ago, Logan Paul uploaded a video to his 15 million subscribers titled “We found a dead body in the Japanese Suicide Forest . . .” The video’s thumbnail image — the still image that shows up on YouTube’s trending pages and search results as a preview for the video — showed a partially blurred body hanging from a tree in the background; in the foreground was the YouTube superstar’s worried face. Paul was wearing a funny green hat. The video title, sadly, was not clickbait. The vlog contained extensive, close-up footage of an apparent suicide victim’s body. Paul’s vlog horrified many YouTubers, before the outrage spread from YouTube’s immediate community to the wider public — including the shocked parents of Paul’s huge, and very young, fan base. The video came down as the outrage became a national news story, and Paul apologized, and announced that he was going to step away from his daily vlogging schedule to take “time to reflect.”