Governments vs Social Media vs. Terrorists—is this turning into a three-way battle?

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Politicians are criticizing Social Media players for providing a “safe space” for extreme ideology to breed. Some governments are considering fining internet giants if they fail to remove hate speech quickly.

Looking at the press coverage of the attack in London on Saturday evening, we may be heading towards a vicious circle of blame and recrimination.

In the meantime, the social media players are investing heavily in AI tools and teams of people to moderate their networks. They have stated that terrorist contact has no place on their websites. The volume of data is enormous—this means that the job of reviewing content is huge, and social media players have defended the steps they have taken to moderate content. They have responded again after Saturday’s attack, restating their commitment to moderating their networks, and claiming that they are implementing the measures demanded by government.

The extremists will continue to find any way they can to plot attacks and cause terror. Any diversion of focus away from stopping the spread of extremism, provides a potential opportunity for them to work faster. Furthermore, if the internet is very strongly regulated by governments, then these groups will be more likely to use the “dark web,” where it is much harder to watch and find them.

The time has come to stop recrimination and for governments and Social Media players to work together to help to identify extremist content. By collaborating and working together to agree sensible measures, the vicious circle can be broken and turn a potential three-way battle into a two-way battle—governments and social media vs. terrorists.

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