Technology

White House announces updates from tech companies to combat violent extremism

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YouTube, Twitch, Microsoft and Meta launched updates aimed at combating violent extremism online, the White House announced Thursday as part of a summit to counter hate-fueled violence. 

The updates come after pressure from the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress and state offices on tech platforms to revamp their policies to address online hate, especially after mass shootings in Buffalo, N.Y., and Uvalde, Texas. 

YouTube will expand its policies by removing content glorifying violent acts for the purpose of inspiring others to commit harm, even if the creator of that content is not related to a designated terrorist group, according to the White House announcement. 

The Google-owned video platform will also launch an educational media literacy campaign aimed at assisting young users in identifying manipulation tactics to spread misinformation. The campaign will launch first in the U.S. and expand to other countries. 

Twitch, an Amazon-owned livestreaming platform, will launch a tool this year that “empowers its streamers and their communities to help counter hate and harassment and further individualize the safety experience of their channels.” The announcement did not expand on the specific details of the new tool for Twitch users. 

Microsoft will make a “basic, more affordable version” of its artificial intelligence and machine learning tools to detect credible threats of violence available to schools and smaller organizations. 

The tech company will also develop a new experience on the popular Minecraft game called “Education Edition” that aims to help students, families and educators build a “safer online and offline world through respect, empathy, trust and safety.” 

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, will partner with the Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies on research to analyze trends in violent extremism and tools that help communities combat it. 

Tech companies have been under increasing scrutiny over the role they play in amplifying hate speech. 

The day before the White House summit, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee questioned current and former social media employees about their platforms’ safety policies. 

The summit also comes a week after the White House released a set of core principles for reform aimed at enhancing competition and tech accountability. 

The principles included calls for increasing transparency about algorithms and stopping discriminatory algorithmic decisionmaking.

Tags Biden Big tech Meta online hate Social media YouTube
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