Rogers Statement on New Tech Initiative to Stop the Spread of Terrorism Online

 

WASHINGTON – Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, today applauded an announcement by Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and others to take individual and collective efforts to address violent content on their platforms. They made the announcement in conjunction with the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) as part of the “Christchurch Call”, a joint effort by New Zealand and France to counter terrorist and violent content in the aftermath of the shootings at Christchurch mosques.

“Attacks on religious institutions are repugnant – no one should fear violence when attending their place of worship, whether that’s a church, mosque, or synagogue,” said Rogers. “Tech firms must do their part to ensure that such attacks, along with other forms of terrorism and violent extremism, are not spread across their platforms. Today’s action shows key players in the tech industry are serious in doing just that. I applaud these companies for taking new steps in light of the recent acts of violence.

Rogers said, “Unfortunately, fringe websites that are home to the most abhorrent behavior, from terrorist propaganda to child pornography to shooter manifestos, remain unwilling to come to the table to address the role they play in the spread of terrorism and violent extremism online. I encourage them to follow the GIFCT’s lead and adopt similar measures.

Rogers concluded, “Ultimately, the spread of violent extremism online is a complex and vexing societal problem and no ‘silver-bullet’ solutions exist. While we make efforts to stop the spread of violence online, we must ensure that we honor the bedrock Constitutional rights of freedom of speech and expression. The U.S. government’s role here must respect those basic principles.”

More on today’s action: The GIFCT was founded in 2017 to stop the spread of terrorist content online. Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, Google, and Amazon announced today that they would take nine steps to stop the spread of terrorist and violent extremist content. Each platform committed to: update terms of use to expressly prohibit extremist content; establish methods for users to report inappropriate content; invest in technology to detect and remove terrorist and violent extremist content’ identifying appropriate checks on livestreaming; and publish transparency reports. They also agreed to work collaboratively to share data and develop open source tools; establish crisis protocols; educate the public about violent online content’ and support research to better understand the root cause of extremism online.

Background: Rogers and Chairman Thompson called on DHS to create a Homeland Security Advisory Council Subcommittee focused on threats to places of worship and religious institutions. Last week, the committee held a hearing on domestic terrorism and Rogers questioned law enforcement about how to fight incitement of violence on fringe sites.

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