Microsoft-backed global forum will help flag extremist content

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Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube launched the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) in 2017. The program keeps a database that helps companies remove extremist content from platforms. Because the GIFCT began with information from the United Nations list of sanctioned groups, it has focused largely on Islamist extremist organizations up to this point. Now, it will expand to include other types of extremist organizations, including the Proud Boys, the Three Percenters, and neo-Nazis.

There were specific incidents that were the GIFCT focused on as well, such as the Christchurch shooting in New Zealand in 2019, but today’s announcement will lead to a significant expansion of the forum’s database.

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The GIFCT spoke with Reuters about the expansion.

A GIFCT spokesperson told The Verge that the forum will add three new categories of content. These will be added over the next three months and include PDFs of terrorists or violent extremists, terrorist publications, and certain links shared frequently on social networks.

Reddit, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and certain other platforms can access the GIFCT’s database. This makes it easier to find and flag content that violates policies or terms of service for each respective platform. For example, a social network might ban calls to violence, so a manifesto by a violent extremist group could be removed.

As explained by Reuters, the GIFCT will expand its list to include more extremist groups, including those identified by the Five Eyes international intelligence partnership and the UN Tech Against Terrorism initiative. As a result, several right-wing extremists groups will be added to the program’s list.

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