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Official speeches and statements - September 22, 2017

Published on September 22, 2017
1. United Nations - Fight against terrorism - Cyber security - Digital technology - High-level meeting on preventing terrorist use of the Internet - Joint statement by the United Kingdom, France and Italy (New York - September 20, 2017)

1. United Nations - Fight against terrorism - Cyber security - Digital technology - High-level meeting on preventing terrorist use of the Internet - Joint statement by the United Kingdom, France and Italy (New York - September 20, 2017)

In the presence of Prime Minister May of the United Kingdom, President Macron of France and Prime Minister Gentiloni of Italy, leaders from industry, like-minded countries, the UN and EU met today in the margins of the UN General Assembly to reaffirm our collective determination to prevent the Internet from being misused by terrorist groups and individuals. We agreed that terrorist use of the Internet is a global issue that needs innovative, international solutions.

We have committed to working together to prevent the dissemination of terrorist content online and the use of the Internet by terrorists to radicalize, recruit, inspire or incite. No individual nation state can respond to this threat alone. The response must be global and it must be collaborative. The threat of terrorist content online can only be effectively countered by the tech industry, governments and non-governmental organizations working together at significantly greater pace and scale.

Further to the recent G7 Taormina Statement on the fight against terrorism and violent extremism, the joint French-British action plan on Internet security, G20 Summit declarations, and existing initiatives of the EU Internet Forum, those present today reiterated support for the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, launched by Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube on 26 June.

Research indicates that over two-thirds of the dissemination of new terrorist content takes place within two hours of release. Recognizing this, we have set the challenge to industry, working collaboratively through the Forum, to develop solutions to remove material within one to two hours of upload, with the wider objective of preventing such material from being uploaded in the first place. We have also challenged industry to pursue the development of technical tools in order to ensure that individuals tempted by violent extremism are not exposed to content that reinforces their extremist inclination - so-called «algorithmic confinement».

As leaders of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT), Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube have emphasized their shared ambition to prevent terrorists from exploiting the Internet to radicalize, recruit and spread propaganda, and to protect their users from terrorists and violent extremists online. They have committed to a range of platform-specific and Forum-wide efforts to better tackle terrorist abuse of open platforms, including exploring artificial intelligence and machine learning to accelerate the identification of terrorist content; building on their hash-sharing database of known terrorist content to help more companies to detect and prevent re-upload of that content; and other initiatives to support smaller companies build capabilities for tackling terrorist abuse of their platforms.

To deliver these aims, they have reinforced their commitment to a work program which includes:

Leveraging technology

Significantly improving the speed at which Forum members identify and remove content from their platforms. Industry recognize the importance of removing material as quickly as possible. They are committed to finding new ways to detect and remove content and have expressed their ambition to use machine learning and other innovative technical solutions to make progress, whilst protecting freedom of speech. Members of the GIFCT will also focus on the removal of legacy material and ensure previously identified terrorist material is not re-uploaded on their platforms.

Pursuing the development of technical tools in order to ensure that individuals tempted by violent extremism are not exposed to content that reinforces their extremist inclination.

Knowledge sharing and best practice

Working with smaller platforms to ensure they cannot be exploited by terrorists by sharing knowledge and best practice, including by:

  • Setting out minimum industry standards on the prohibition of terrorist content in Terms of Service, including the ability to receive reports and take action and the development of reporting standards. The founding members of the Forum will support smaller companies in meeting these standards.
  • Driving improvement across 25 sites most commonly used by terrorists, and extending the hash-sharing database to as many companies as possible in order to support efforts to identify and remove new and legacy material.
  • Holding workshops spanning three continents in Jakarta, Brussels and New York to share best practice and aiming to reach 50 companies.
  • Expanding support for civil society organizations by providing services and knowledge from Forum members to give civil society organizations the practical tools to deliver effective counter and alternative-narratives and help them expand their global reach.

Research

Building on existing efforts, the founding members of the Forum have made a multi-million dollar commitment to support research that improves the response of industry to terrorist abuse of the Internet working with academic and research institutions around the world to identify under-researched areas and opportunities to build a deeper understanding of how companies, governments and civil society can better tackle online radicalization.

We believe that the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism provides the best overarching mechanism through which to tackle the evolving threat posed by terrorist use of the Internet. We have recognized the international nature of the online terrorist threat and the need to build global momentum to tackle it in a comprehensive way. We agreed to support the Forum, as well as existing regional initiatives in the sector of countering terrorism online, as they take vital steps towards this through their work to undertake research, share knowledge and develop technical solutions that will help their industry as a whole to protect their global user base.

Together we can make significant strides in tackling this issue. This was an important first step and we look forward to continuing our dialogue with industry on these issues.

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