Facebook launches new initiative to counter terror content in UK

Facebook launches new initiative to counter terror content in UK
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Facebook announced on Friday a new initiative to combat online extremist content in the United Kingdom after Prime Minister Theresa May called for regulating the internet to crack down on what she believes is the “safe space” that social media sites provide for terrorists.

The company said in a statement that it’s launching the Online Civil Courage Initiative (OCCI) in the U.K., providing support for the country’s nongovernmental organizations to research and combat terrorist content online.

“The recent terror attacks in London and Manchester — like violence anywhere — are absolutely heartbreaking,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said in a statement on Friday. “No one should have to live in fear of terrorism — and we all have a part to play in stopping violent extremism from spreading.”

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“There is no place for hate or violence on Facebook. We use technology like [artificial intelligence] to find and remove terrorist propaganda, and we have teams of counterterrorism experts and reviewers around the world working to keep extremist content off our platform.”

The announcement comes a week after Facebook outlined its efforts to crack down on the ways terrorists use the platform.

It also comes in the wake of a series of terror attacks in the U.K. that prompted May to accuse internet service providers and social media sites of providing a breeding ground for violent extremists.

“We cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed,” May said earlier this month. “Yet that is precisely what the internet and big companies that provide internet-based services provide. We need to do everything we can at home to reduce the risks of extremism online.”

Web companies have since taken efforts to show that they take the problem seriously. In a blog post last week, Facebook officials discussed how they search for and remove terrorism content on the platform.

Facebook said Friday that the new U.K. initiative will help share best practices and support with NGOs and government agencies looking to respond to extremist content.