G7 leaders call on tech companies to combat online terrorism

G7 leaders call on tech companies to combat online terrorism
© Getty Images

The leaders of the seven world powers on Friday called for technology companies to do a better job policing extremist content on their platforms.

“While being one of the most important technological achievements in the last decades, the Internet has also proven to be a powerful tool for terrorist purposes,” the Group of Seven (G7) leaders said in a joint statement. The G7 includes Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States. 

“We encourage the industry to act urgently in developing and sharing new technology and tools to improve the automatic detection of content promoting incitement to violence, and we commit to supporting industry efforts in this vein including the proposed industry-led forum for combating online extremism," the statement reads.


At the ongoing G7 summit in Taormina, Sicily, leaders said that they want internet companies like Facebook and Twitter to “substantially” increase their efforts to keep radical content off their websites.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May spearheaded a push for internet companies to crack down on terrorist content in the wake of Monday’s terror attacks in Manchester, which left 22 dead.

“Against the backdrop of Monday’s cowardly attack in Manchester, we have discussed what more we can do together to address the threat from terror,” May told reporters. “Make no mistake, the fight is moving from the battlefield to the internet.”

Over the past year, technology companies have been ramping up their efforts to keep ISIS, who took credit for the Manchester attack, and other radical groups off their sites. In February of last year, Twitter suspended 125,000 accounts from its site for promoting terrorism. The company booted another 235,000 from the site that March.

Twitter previously made headlines for an ISIS community that popped up on its platform. The group used Twitter to distribute recruitment tools and memes.

Facebook says that it has been making efforts of its own by working with groups that discredit ISIS and related organizations and by removing extremist content in violation of its terms of service.