Although no official statements were made so far, there are rumors that two major players in the online industry may start blocking unfavorable speech on their platforms. Reportedly, extremist speech may be suppressed by Facebook and Google through automated scanners, similar to those used to enforce copyright laws on the Internet.
The two companies may remodel copyright takedown techniques in order to identify and remove extremist content. So far, it`s still not clear to what extent these automated programs will be able to act and block content, but it is sure that the primary target of these systems will be radical messages oriented against the United States and European countries.
Most of the U.S. and European leaders denounced the proliferation of extremism in the online environment and turned to Internet companies in order to receive support. As a reply, these companies appeared to be receptive to the idea.
However, it is still unclear what will be the definition of extremism for the algorithm used by the automated systems. Also, when contacted, Google and Facebook did not confirm or deny any of the rumors around this topic.
So far, most of the big Internet companies relied on their users to remove and block offensive and extremist content.
In a statement made earlier this year, Facebook officials mentioned that they received more than one million flag requests from its users. Also, Twitter suspended more than 120,000 accounts that shared extremist content.
Moreover, Google also declared that they received over 70 million DMCA takedown requests in only one month.
Also, there are already several automated systems that deal with blocking certain illegal content. Following the international outcry against online radicalization after the Orlando attack, extremist speech may become one of the next targets.
However, the fact that extremist speech may be automatically suppressed raises a few issues. If the law is very clear in regards to the unauthorized proliferation via Internet of content that falls under copyright laws, extremism and hate speech may be harder to label.
Nonetheless, previous experience showed that this can be accomplished. Earlier this year, companies such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter agreed with the EU`s regulations that require the removal of hateful online content and promotion of “independent counter-narratives.”
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