Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and You Tube have jointly teamed up to try and prevent the spread of extremist and terrorist content through their sites.

digital-fingerprint

Extremist and violent content shared on social media will be digitally fingerprinted by the four tech giants to try and prevent it going viral.

The four tech giants intend to digitally fingerprint content like videos and photos, so that future material will be screened and blocked before it is shared.

“There is no place for content that promotes terrorism on our hosted consumer services,” said a spokesman for Twitter in a statement.

The four tech firms will put in place a jointly created database that will contain unique “digital fingerprints” of the flagged content. The database will then screen uploads across the four companies to spot violent or extremist material before it is shared.

Each individual digital snapshot and video of the flagged content will be given a unique identifier, using industry standard hashes. Content identified as extremist can then use the database to delete the content from their respective sites and services.

While the move may cause concern against free speech and privacy advocates, the four companies have stated categorically that that user privacy will be protected at all times.

“No personally identifiable information will be shared, and matching content will not be automatically removed. Each company will continue to apply its own policies and definitions of terrorist content when deciding whether to remove content when a match to a shared hash is found… And each company will continue to apply its practice of transparency and review for any government requests, as well as retain its own appeal process for removal decisions and grievances. As part of this collaboration, we will all focus on how to involve additional companies in the future.”

Users who believe that their content may been incorrectly identified as extremist or violent will be able to appeal.

The news comes in the same week that EU Justice Commissioner Věra Jourová criticised tech companies for the length of time it was taking tech companies to remove hate speech on-line.

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