Web-based tech giants YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft (Skype & Bing) have decided to work together to stop extremist content from their websites by creating a common database. The firms have agreed to share ‘hashes’ or unique digital fingerprints they automatically assign to videos or photos of such content.
The hashtag on such content enables the peers to identify the content on their platforms and remove them in turn. "We hope this collaboration will lead to greater efficiency as we continue to enforce our policies to help curb the pressing global issue of terrorist content online," the companies said in a statement.
The firms have long resisted outside or government intervention on policing their sites but came together recently to do more to remove extremist content in view of recent militant attacks in Paris and other cities in the West. YouTube and Facebook have already begun to use such hashes to automatically remove such content.
Until now the practice was that mainly users have to flag content that violates terms of service and then human editors will review and delete such content found in violation of the guidelines or norms. Twitter alone suspended 235,000 accounts between February and August 2016.
The new database will come into operation in early 2017. The European Union has laready established an EU Internet Forum last year to remove such extremist content.